Beijing-based private equity firm Hillhouse announced the launch of a new seed project named Aseed+ on Wednesday, planning to invest 100 early-stage startups in the next three years, in industries ranging from manufacturing, new energy, and new materials to biotechnology and carbon neutrality.

Why it matters: Hillhouse established its venture capital brand GL Ventures in 2020 to expand early-stage investments. This newly launched project is the private equity firm’s separate seed investment business. Amid a macro environment filled with increasing uncertainty, Hillhouse is entering into seed investment. 

Details: Aseed+ aims to provide targeted support for early-stage entrepreneurs, covering integrated services including business incubation, market validation, business acceleration, and subsequent rounds of financing, according to the Wednesday statement released by Hillhouse.

  • Led by founding partner Li Liang, who is responsible for hard-tech and climate change investments at Hillhouse, the project will specialize in deals ranging from $2 million to $3 million.
  • Zhang Lei, founder of Hillhouse, said in a statement that today’s early stage investment has already transformed from “discovering value” to “discovering + creating value,” and added that investment institutions need to push themselves to the front lines of technology and industry innovation.
  • A Chinese financial advisor told Chinese media outlet LatePost that Hillhouse is securing investment opportunities at a low cost using this strategy, and that the Aseed+ team likely includes investors from the firm’s venture capital teams. The advisor added that the areas the project is focusing on are also the fields state-owned funds currently paying attention to.

Context: There has been a valuation bubble in the primary market for emerging industries in recent years, so making early-stage investments can be a better choice for investment institutions in the current climate.

  • Sequoia Capital China, the venture capital firm known for its bets on ByteDance and Alibaba Group, launched startup accelerator YUÈ last month to cultivate emerging startups in China. Meanwhile, Source Code Capital also announced a new business that focuses on investing fresh companies from their early stage in June.

Cheyenne Dong

Cheyenne Dong is a tech reporter now based in Beijing. She covers e-commerce and retail, blockchain, and Web3. Connect with her via e-mail: cheyenne.dong[a]technode.com.