China VC Weekly: Robots, Artificial Meat and ByteDance’s Latest Strategic Move into Online Entertainment

Banner for the food distribution company Wangjiahuan (Source: Wangjiahuan)

China’s VC activity is beginning to recuperate with a series of notable investments from ByteDance, Meituan Dianping, Matrix Partners China and others. Hot topics this week include Keenon Robotics’ service robots, the future of China’s artificial meat industry, advances in online entertainment and a considerable win in the food distribution sector.

Service robot startup Keenon Robotics raises a hefty B round of financing

Keenon Robotics product lineup (Source: Keenon Robotics)

Shanghai-based service robot manufacturer Keenon Robotics announced that it had completed its B round of financing at the end of 2019. The round was led by Source Code Capital and followed by Walden International and Shanghai Science and Technology Fund. The firm’s older backers Yunqi Capital and iVision Ventures also contributed to the round. Keenon Robotics revealed to the Chinese tech media outlet 36Kr that the company bagged a combined total of around 200 million yuan as a result of the Pre-B round raised in February 2019 and the most recent B round of financing.

The firm will use the investment to scale in the domestic catering market, expand into overseas markets, and develop new business directions, such as medical care robots.

About Keenon Robotics

Founded in 2010, Keenon Robotics focuses on the research and development of autonomous indoor distribution robots, which can be used in restaurants, hotels, medical facilities, warehouses, etc. At present, the company is developing robots capable of operating in hot pot restaurants.

Artificial meat maker STARFIELD raises tens of millions of yuan from Joy Capital and Matrix Partners

STARFIELD website

Chinese artificial meat company STARFIELD completed a round of financing worth tens of millions of yuan. Investors include Joy Capital, Matrix Partners China, the well-known US-based evergreen fund New Crop Capital, and a similar Chinese fund Dao Foods Capital. According to the publicly disclosed information, STARFIELD is currently the largest domestically funded artificial meat startup in China.

According to the company, this round of financing will be mainly used for R&D and marketing. STARFIELD said that its next moves in food-tech will not be limited to artificial beef, but will also include fish, chicken, pork and other categories. The company plans to explore different scenarios for plant-based foods, such as snacks and room temperature cooking kits. On distribution, STARFIELD plans to deepen its cooperation with merchants as well as sell its products directly through e-commerce platforms.

About STARFIELD

STARFIELD was established in 2019. Kiki, the company’s founder, believes that as consumers start pursuing healthier lifestyles and getting personally involved in causes like environmental protection and animal protection, “plant-based diets” will rapidly gain popularity around the world.

ByteDance pours RMB180 million into artist agency Mountaintop

Ocean Yang, CEO of Mountaintop Entertainment (Source: Mountaintop Entertainment)

ByteDance invested 180 million yuan in a prominent Chinese online artist agency Mountaintop Entertainment in an exclusive strategic Series B round. The agency backs major Chinese celebrities like Angelababy, Papi Jiang and others. 

According to publicly available information, ByteDance currently owns 8.55% of the company and is the company’s fourth largest shareholder. Other notable shareholders include AB Capital, Guangdian Capital, ZhenFund, and Lighthouse Capital. Mountaintop Entertainment announced that after the completion of the B round of financing, it will start a comprehensive strategic cooperation with ByteDance.

About Mountaintop Entertainment

Mountaintop was established in December 2014. The company’s business scope includes entertainment agency services, organization of cultural and artistic exchanges, and intellectual property services.

Food distribution company Wangjiahuan raises RMB600 million in Round B led by Meituan

Wangjiahuan food distribution truck (Source: Wangjiahuan)

Food distribution company Wangjiahuan completed a 600 million yuan round B of financing led by Meituan Dianping. The firm’s original shareholder Yinshan Capital followed. According to Chinese media reports, this round of financing is the largest single investment in the field of catering and food distribution in China recently. 

Chairman of the company Gao Jun stated that the financing will be used in several fields: first, to promote the firm’s national partnership plan; second, to continue to build a “city sharing distribution + county agricultural development” center; third, to build a more direct platform for agricultural product procurement and marketing; fourth, to improve their agricultural product quality and safety platform.

About Wangjiahuan

Wangjiahuan is a leading Chinese catering and food distribution company, established in 1995. The company’s business spans agricultural planting and breeding, agricultural product processing and distribution, e-commerce, catering, agricultural information services, supply chain financial services and more. At present, the group has more than 130 branches and subsidiaries, serving nearly 20,000 customers, mainly government agencies, schools, hospitals, large commercial enterprises and supermarkets.