It is rare for angel investors to spot and invest in future unicorns, meaning private companies with valuations of USD 1 billion or more. Over the past few years, Zhu Xiaohu (also known as Allen Zhu) and angel investor Wang Gang have taken part in several angel investments together. The well known investment duo are behind several unicorns in China’s tech industry including Didi Chuxing, ele.me, and ofo. Zhu is also a Partner and Managing Director at venture capital GSR Ventures.
Here are five startups that Zhu and Wang have placed bets on, shedding light on their investment strategies.
Founded in: 2016
Financing status: RMB 350 million (USD 51 million) Series B financing in May 2017
As the whole world watches China’s heated bike-sharing war unfolding, power bank rentals soon caught public attention for its questionable hype and large overvalued investments. Xiaodian is one such major power bank rental startup.
Xiaodian offers power bank terminals at fixed locations in shops and restaurants for smartphone charging services. A user can scan a QR code on the Xiaodian power bank before getting his or her smartphone charged. The company does not require deposits, and sets the rental fee at RMB 1 (USD 0.14) per hour. The startup hopes to expand its power bank rentals to 25 Chinese cities by the end of this month.
Founded in: 2015
Financing status: USD 20 million Series B financing in March 2017
Think YCLOSET as China’s Rent The Runway. YCLOSET started its business by providing dress rental services to its users for certain occasions like parties and weddings. Now, the startup has shifted its focus to rentals for daily wear, targeting female professionals in China’s first and second tier cities.
The company purchases fashionable and chic clothes from clothing brands and franchises. The average price for each outfit on YCLOSET is around RMB 1,000. Users are charged a monthly fee of RMB 499 (USD 73), and they can rent as many clothes as they wish. It only allows a user to keep one outfit, and the user needs to return one outfit to get a new one. If a user likes an outfit, she can buy it at a discounted rate.
Founded in: 2014
Financing status: Tens of millions in RMB (a few million USD) for Series C round in July 2016
Just like food delivery apps that deliver restaurant food to your doorstep, Home-Cook delivers homemade dishes to you. Users on the app fall into two categories: hosts or amateur cooks, and diners. Diners can order meals straight from their neighbors’ kitchens and have them delivered.
The app mainly targets young working professionals in the city looking for healthier and tastier food, but are unwilling to step into the kitchen to cook themselves.
Founded in: 2014
Financing status: Tens of millions in USD for Series D round in May 2016
The startup provides services for automobile owners. Services on the app can be divded into two categories: basic services which include parking tickets payment and car insurance, and maintenance services at automobile service providers.
In order to provide standard car maintenance services to its users, the company has established around 100 physical service shops across China’s first and second tier cities. It has attracted several million users so far.
Founded in: 2013
Financing status: USD 200 million Series C round in October 2016
The company focuses on the education sector for children under the age of 12 (K12) and develops education platforms. The company claims that its products improve the management efficiency of education authorities, as well as the efficiency of students and teachers.
Its products keep track of students’ learning progress before and after classes, and records real time data and information for teachers. Xueleyun has provided services for more than 54,000 schools from 26 Chinese provinces and municipalities.
(Top photo from Pixabay.com)