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Scrutiny Over SoftBank's Mega Fund Could Impact
VC Fund Raising and Investment Valuations

SoftBank chief Masayoshi Son and his mega fund under fire

In the venture capital world, bigger has been considered better, and the biggest is the SoftBank's Vision Fund of $100 billion.
But now, this SoftBank fund that invests $100 million or more in growth-stage technology companies, has fallen under criticism by two of its lead investors how it invests and how much it invests in technology companies. 
To put this in perspective, consider that in 2018, venture funds globally raised $79 billion and invested $275 billion globally. 
Industry specialization and deep tech dives are the latest trends in venture capital investing. This is the opposite of the SoftBank fund's focus that looks more broadly across big market opportunities, and well-known and higher-profile companies: Uber, DoorDash, WeWork, and ride-hailing leader Didi in China and Grab in Singapore. 
One concern is that the SoftBank mega fund would raise investment valuations at emerging companies that venture capitalists target. Many of the emerging companies in its portfolio rank very high on the unicorn list. Read more at Forbes: A Softer Bank 


Pony Ma
A move by Chinese tech titan Tencent to co-invest $300 million in American social news aggregator Reddit is part of its aggressive investment push in many leading tech companies.
Tencent has invested in Uber, Tesla and Snap, acquired a bunch of gaming companies including Riot Games and Supercell, and co-invested in several US and Asian tech startups in robotics, biotech and machine learning.  In China, Tencent has targeted lead rival Alibaba with killer buys in e-commerce and sought to curb TikTok's quick-start video app by backing its main foe  Kuaishou .
With Reddit, Tencent is going out of its usual bounds.  Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital and Fidelity Venture were co-investors .
The deal with the media-oriented Reddit has sparked protests of censorship from users. Interesting how 
this deal got an OK by US regulators at this sensitive time in US-China trade and tech issues. 
Read more at Forbes: Ten Cents in Reddit

Burning Rock biotech startup tops off a $125.5 million Series C funding from GIC, Lilly Asia Ventures, Sequoia and others. The Beijing-based company specializes in cancer genetic testing. 

SAIF Partners has led a $12.5 million, 2nd round funding for India's online lending platform ZipLoan.  

Sequoia India and SeaX Ventures have funded blockchain startup Band Protocol, which has technology for token-created communities to solve fake news and privacy issues.  

A look at a China-made phone of the future: it doesn't have buttons or ports. Charging is done wirelessly. These innovations are still rough, but could be the norm sooner than you might imagine.  It's made by Meizu Zero in Zuhai and is priced at $1,299. The Chinese company started a crowd-funding campaign at end of January and raised 1/3rd of its $100,000 goal in 15 days.   

VC funding for startups isn't exploding, it's taking the place of IPOs. More than half the capital is going to "Unicorn Rounds." See analysis of the state of risk capital by VC Mark Suster: A Deep Dive: Is VC Still a Thing?

Interview with Rebecca Fannin, author of Tech Titans of China - BeFast.TV
Rebecca Fannin, author of
Tech Titans of China, chats with BeFast.TV about her next book (Hachette, 2019).