VC Firm Founded By Ex-Google China Head Raises $674M In New Funds

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Sinovation Ventures, the firm founded by ex-Google Inc. China head Kai-Fu Lee, has raised a 4.5 billion yuan ($674 million USD) for two separate currency funds that will target AI, enterprise software and entertainment content startups in China and the U.S.

It comes has the country is experiencing what has been dubbed a capital ‘winter’, spurring firms to shore up cash reserves and seek out more risk-averse investments.

Previously known as Innovation Works, Sinovation Ventures oversees around 300 startups, with a special focus on the Chinese market. Founder Kai-Fu Lee previously served as Google’s China head, as well as holding an executive role at Microsoft Corp.

The two new funds include their second RMB fund ($375 million USD) and their third U.S. dollar fund ($300 million USD), bringing the total amount on the firms portfolio to approximately $1.2 billion USD.

Seven-year-old Sinovation Ventures counts popular Chinese apps Wandoujia and Meitu among its investments. Meitu is currently preparing for a Honk Kong IPO.

Chinese VCs have raised record low funding amounts since the economic slump in mid-2015, however emerging trends in AI, big data and entertainment content have firms cautiously optimistic, while enthusiasm for high cost alternatives such as on-demand apps has mellowed.