Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Israel VC Singulariteam Raises $102M Backed By Tencent, Renren Founders

Tel Aviv Venture Capital Fnd Singulariteam is announcing that it has closed its second fund — $102 million from LPs that include co-founder of China’s Tencent Mr. Vic Lee and Renren's founder — that it will use to invest in local startups and those with root.

Vic Lee is former senior executive vice president of Tencent, the largest Internet service provider in China. He joined Tencent in 1999 and was responsible for planning, construction and managing the operation platforms, including technical architecture, information security, payment settlements, business intelligence, sales channel connection, fundamental IT, applications maintenance and customer services.

Singulariteam was originally founded in 2013 under a different name, Genesis Angels. (It rebranded to avoid confusion with a similarly-named, older VC in Israel.) Led by entrepreneur Moshe Hogeg — he of Mobli and Yo — the original mission was to focus investments into new areas like machine learning, artificial intelligence and robotics. That’s pretty much what the team has done. Its first fund of $100 million — which came entirely from entrepreneur Kenges Rakishev was spread across 12 startups that either develop tech directly in these areas (General Robotics, VR eyewear company Meta and Beyond Verbal for example) or use it within more general consumer applications (such as photo sharing app Mobli, Sprylogics and Yo).

The $102 million fund widened the investment pool from Rakishev to LPs from further afield.

China’s Tencent is behind a number of leading services, including the instant messaging app WeChat. Tencent has a market cap of $200 billion, is the second in size in China (after Alibaba) and is one of the world’s biggest companies. Renren is the company behind the “Chinese Facebook,” and has a market cap of $900 million.

Hogeg explained that the Chinese investments in the fund will make it possible for the companies in the investment fund’s portfolio to enter the Chinese Internet and digital markets more easily. With regards to Rakishev, Hogeg said, “Unlike the previous fund, which Rakishev led, this time, he is still a significant investor, but not a leading one.”

“When we launched the first fund, we decided to bring a new methodology, where we serve as half angel investor, and half investment fund. We invest in the very early idea stages, but instead of investing $100,000, we invest $1-2 million at the idea and presentation stage,” Hogeg explained.

"In our world, investing $1-2 million in initial stages is going after it aggressively. It increases the likelihood of success of the companies that we invest in significantly. There is a difference between a CEO who is worried about how to pay salaries tomorrow morning, and a CEO who has money in the bank and is focused on building the product and creating value,”

Hogeg added. Hogeg said that the new fund has already invested $20 million in start-ups, and the second fund’s portfolio already includes two companies that are developing mail apps - TL;DR, and Hop, alongside web-building platform Webydo, invest.com, Genesort, and the.net.



Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Israel Grows From Startup Nation To Exit Nation

Source: TechCrunch

Thanks to a string of big exits over the past year, Israel’s technology companies are moving the country from a startup nation to an exit nation.

With nearly $15 billion in exits through mergers and acquisitions and public offerings, 2014 was an all-time record year for the Israeli hi-tech industry, compared with a mere $1.2 billion raised in 2013, according to a PwC report for 2014.

The exits were spread out between a variety of tech industries, including Internet, IT, life sciences, communications and semiconductors. Semiconductors had a 38% of the share, but just one semiconductor IPO out of the 18 in total.

The road accident avoidance technology developer MobilEye raised $1.023 billion in its August IPO, a record an Israeli company. As for new giant exits emerging, most argue that Israel’s hi-tech diversity is its strength.

“While there seems to be a general hype around IoT, security and fintech, I find Israel to be a very unique place in the fact that entrepreneurs don’t tend to have group think and as such, we are seeing ventures tackling a very wide array of industries.” said Yaron Carni, the founder of two Israeli VC funds Maverick Ventures and Tel Aviv Angel Group. And more international companies are beginning to take notice of Israel’s technological strengths. In fact, 2014 ended with a news item that might indicate China’s increasingly hefty presence in the Israeli hi-tech sector.

Last year might be remembered as the time when Chinese technology companies embraced Israeli startups in a big way. On December 20, The Chinese eCommerce giant Alibaba invested in Visualead, a company that specializes in QR code generation. Based in Herzliya, the Israeli equivalent of Silicon Valley, the 15-person start-up was Aliababa’s first Israeli acquisition.

Last September, China’s Yuanda Enterprise Group bought Auto Agronome, a maker of smart irrigation and fertilization systems for $20 million in order to move into high-tech agriculture. And earlier in 2014, China’s Bright Food acquired 56 percent of Israeli dairy firm Tnuva, prompting the Former Mossad head Efraim Halevy to call the move a threat to national security.

Israel’s tech community doesn’t seem to mind a fresh breeze of Yuan from the east. “While in the past you would tend to see more American companies followed by European companies acquiring Israeli start-ups, nowadays it is evident that China has developed an ever growing appetite for Israeli tech. Both trends are good and diversity of start-ups pollinates the ecosystem,” Carni said. Carni, who has witnessed several exits among the start-ups he invested in, is optimistic about 2015 being yet another record year for Israeli tech scene.

“We have made several investments in the past year since inception (and specifically in the past month) and it is clear that exciting times are ahead for all of us.”

Echoing Carni’s optimism, Rubi Suliman wrote in the PwC exit report that Israel will continue to see exciting start-ups and impressive exits. “The amounts invested in Israeli hi-tech are going up, many funds are raising money and new investors are joining. The entrepreneurial bug’ is spreading across’ Israel, and we are thus expected to see ever more start-ups popping up.”



Thursday, January 22, 2015

Harman to Acquire Israeli Co. Red Bend Software for $200mm

HARMAN International Industries, Incorporated (NYSE:HAR), the premier audio, visual, infotainment and enterprise automation group, today announced the acquisition of Israeli-based Red Bend Software, a leading provider of software management technology for connected devices, and over-the-air (OTA) software and firmware upgrading services. Building upon Red Bend’s strength in the mobile and carrier markets, HARMAN will accelerate Red Bend’s growth in the automotive space and will position Red Bend software as the de facto standard for OTA software services for mobile devices and automotive applications.

The transaction is valued at $170 million, including approximately $99 million in stock and $71 million in cash. The number of HARMAN shares issued will be based on the volume weighted average trading price 60 days prior to January 21. Under the agreement, the selling stockholders of Red Bend are eligible for a cash earn-out of up to $30 million in the first quarter of calendar year 2017 based on the achievement of certain performance milestones.

Red Bend is the world’s leading provider of the most advanced OTA solutions, serving top handset manufacturers and mobile carriers with more than two billion Red Bend-enabled devices in the market globally. Sophisticated software systems like Red Bend are the cornerstone of a steadily increasing number of integrated and interoperating devices, and managing updates for firmware, middleware, third party apps, and other services.

“This acquisition of Red Bend, a true pioneer in OTA and virtualization technologies for cyber security, adds a critical component to our automotive systems and services portfolio that will essentially future proof software in cars, ultimately making them safer, smarter and more efficient,” said Dinesh C. Paliwal, Chairman, President, and CEO of HARMAN. “Together with our Symphony Teleca acquisition, HARMAN now has the essential foundation and deep bench strength for a comprehensive systems and services portfolio. Today marks a huge transformation for HARMAN and further advancement towards delivering consumers a seamless, connected car and connected lifestyle experience.”

“With over 15 years of success in delivering world-class over-the-air update solutions to the telecom and mobile markets, we are pleased to bring our proven track record to HARMAN,” said Yoram Salinger, President and CEO of Red Bend. “By joining forces with HARMAN, we will accelerate our growth in expanding markets such as the connected car while also continuing to support billions of mobile devices. Beyond mobile, Red Bend and HARMAN will implement OTA software management to enhance infotainment and embedded system performance as well as other in-car ECU-based systems. These solutions will benefit the entire automotive ecosystem through cost savings, increased security and a seamless customer experience.”

Red Bend’s software management solutions and hypervisor-based virtualization technologies for cyber security are already widely adopted in mobile devices and ideally suited to meet the rising demands of the connected car. By 2020, it is expected that more than 90 percent of vehicles on the road will be connected (Frost and Sullivan). Importantly, Red Bend solutions also serve as critical prerequisites for autonomous driving. By bringing Red Bend under the HARMAN umbrella and driving broad industry usage, HARMAN’s combined technology portfolio will seamlessly enable safe, secure OTA updates for a variety of on-board Harman and non-Harman automotive systems – whether embedded or downloaded -- speeding the pace of innovation to automakers and the industry.

Upon close of the transaction, Red Bend will operate within HARMAN as an independent unit led by its existing management team, while benefiting from HARMAN’s scale, resources, and deep automotive domain experience.

Red Bend will remain dedicated to serving and growing its target markets, including mobile handset OEMs, service providers, semiconductor vendors and tablet manufacturers, as well as its growing base of automotive OEMs and other Tier 1 suppliers.


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Start Up Nation - AMAZING Week With More Than $100m Fundraising

After a record year in 2014 in fund raising for Israeli tech companies we are having a crazy week so far in our Start Up Nation.

Just see what happened since the beginning of the week:
  • Cloud computing company Revello raised $28 million from Qualcomm, SanDisk, Sequoia, Bessemer Venture Partners, Norwest Venture Partners and Vintage Investment Partners;
  • Microsoft acquired Equivio, a text analytics service for $50 million;
  • Trend hunting ad platform Taykey raised $15 million from Innovation Endeavors, SoftBank Capital, Sequoia Capital, Marker LLC and Tenaya Capital;
  • AppsFlyer, a service that allows app marketers to measure and track their app promotion campaigns raised $20 million from Fidelity Growth Partners, Magma Venture Partners and Pitango Venture Capital;
  • Patient monitoring solutions co. EarlySense raised $20 million from Samsung Ventures, Pitango Venture Capital, Welch Allyn, JK&B, Proseed and Noaber; 
  • Insert, a company that develops platform for enterprise mobile apps raised $5 million;
  • Visualead, a developer of a revolutionary QR code solution raised $6 million from Alibaba Group;
And the week is not over, yet!


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Alibaba to Invest Up to $6m In Israeli QR Company Visualead

Visualead, an Israeli O2O startup and pioneer of Visual QR Code technology, announced today that it has secured B-round funding from Alibaba Group.

Alibaba Group and Visualead also entered into a strategic cooperation agreement for the use of Visualead’s patents and technology across Alibaba Group’s ecosystem. Visualead will use the proceeds from the funding to develop next-generation O2O technology.

The investment into Visualead is Alibaba Group’s first-ever investment in an Israeli company and it is a nod to the country’s prolific development as a booming technology startup scene. Visualead is working closely with Mashangtao, the scannable code technology service of Alibaba Group, to provide innovative tools and solutions to sellers on Taobao Marketplace and Tmall.com, China’s two biggest online shopping platforms. Mashangtao recently utilized Visualead’s Visual QR Code technology to enable merchants to generate QR Codes. Visualead and Mashangtao are also engaged in joint projects in the areas of anti-counterfeiting, mobile, and video.

“We have already seen O2O as a major area of growth in China. Working with Visualead, a dynamic startup and first-mover in this field is the next logical step as we seek to enhance customer engagement on mobile platforms. We believe that Visualead’s leading Visual QR Code technology will complement our mobile marketing initiatives and enhance our ability to take advantage of the booming O2O opportunities in China,” said Zhang Kuo, director of Alibaba Group’s Mashangtao technology service.

Nevo Alva, CEO of Visualead, said “Alibaba is the ideal strategic partner for distributing our technology in China and the leading O2O company worldwide. We are humbled to have Alibaba as a shareholder and on our Board of Directors, committed to making our Visual QR Code the new worldwide standard for Offline to Online engagement.”

Through its patented technology and mobile marketing O2O platform, Visualead helps over 500,000 businesses in over 200 countries connect with their customers both Offline and Online through a fun and effective mobile experience.

Visualead’s computer vision and machine learning technology turns any image, profile picture, animation, and even video into an engaging and effective Visual QR Code, which can be easily scanned by any QR Code reader. While the use of QR Codes for mobile marketing is widespread across the globe, QR codes are especially popular in China due to their social network connectivity and app download abilities.

Based on Visualead’s experience, consumers are up to four times more likely to scan a Visual QR Code than a regular black and white QR Code.


Sunday, January 18, 2015

Gezhouba Group To Buy Kardan's China Water Co.

Kardan N.V. announces that Tahal Group Assets BV signed a Share Purchase Agreement with China Gezhouba Group Investment Holding Co. Ltd. to sell its shares in the Chinese water infrastructure company Kardan Water International Group Ltd. (‘KWIG’).

The sale of KWIG will be finalized before the end of June 2015.

The total consideration amounts to approximately EUR 86 million. Additionally, CGGC will repay all outstanding loans provided to KWIG by Kardan Group companies, totaling approximately EUR 42 million.

Closing of the first phase of the Transaction is expected to take place in February 2015 at which time the Purchaser will pay 75% of the Consideration and will repay all outstanding loans provided to KWIG by Kardan Group companies.

The second phase of the Transaction is to take place before June 30, 2015.

Kardan is expected to receive at least EUR 65 million of the net proceeds and estimates that the Transaction will generate a profit of approximately EUR 5 million.

KWIG, a fully owned subsidiary of Tahal Assets, develops, constructs and manages water assets – such as wastewater treatment, water re-use and water supply plants – in China. Currently, KWIG operates 11 water projects in China, with a maximum combined capacity of 630 k t/day.

CGGC Investment is a wholly owned subsidiary of CGGC. CGGC, founded in 1970, is a leading Chinese engineering construction corporation. CGGC masters world-leading technologies and consequently has extraordinary influence worldwide in the field of water conservancy and hydropower works, doing business in over 100 countries and regions in the world and ranking among the top 100 of the largest worldwide contractors.


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Fintech Trends in China to Watch in 2015

Thanks to the success of Yuebao, a user-friendly investment fund for Alipay users which launched in mid-2013, nearly all major Chinese internet companies tapped into internet-based finance in 2014. While some simply sell traditional financial products online, many big tech companies and startups have created new products for the internet economy.

More than 150 fintech startups received funding this year, according to ITjuzi.com, a Chinese online database for startups.

Peer-to-peer lending

Chinese authorities still haven’t issued regulations for peer-to-peer lending, but the services continued to grow quickly in 2014. Some are predicting that China’s peer-to-peer lending market will be bigger than that in the US. At the same time, the rapidly-evolving market saw more than 100 peer-to-peer sites shut down over the year.

It has been reported that Lufax, a subsidiary of Chinese insurance giant Ping An, is planning a U.S. IPO (report in Chinese). China Rapid Finance, a consumer credit solution provider, launched a peer-to-peer lending service in late 2013 and reportedly has been exploring a U.S. IPO too. Encouraged by the Lending Club’s IPO in December 2013, China’s peer-to-peer industry expects to see several of Chinese services to go public in the U.S. in the near future.

Unlike other companies that take transaction or service fees, Lufax charges a 1-2% guarantee fee (as its parent company Ping An ultimately guarantees all of its loans) and lenders a 2-3% fee (source in Chinese). Greg Gibb, chairman and CEO of Lufax, said their ultimate goal was to become the largest online wealth management firm in China.

Lending Club co-founder Soul Htite founded Shanghai-based Dianrong in 2012, trying to replicate its success in China. Dianrong’s model is unsurprisingly the same as Lending Club’s. Dianrong announced a new round of funding this year.

Jimubox, launched in August 2013, is the new kid on the block. The company raised two rounds of financing in 2014, and has drawn much attention for receiving new funding from Xiaomi, the rising star in China’s smart device market, and Shunwei (the venture capital fund co-founded by Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun).

Other major players in the market including CreditEase, Renrendai, PPdai, Yooli, Hongling (my089.com). Yooli, Renrendai and PPdai, announced new rounds of funding in 2014.

Online Financial Product Marketplace and Search Engine

Almost all major Chinese tech companies, including Baidu, Tencent, Sina and NetEase, have begun selling investment funds following the success of Yuebao. Though most have been selling traditional financial products, financial institutions have been happy to cooperate with them to access their huge user bases. New financial products like Yuebao also emerged.

With increasing numbers of financial products available online, both startups and big tech companies are building marketplaces and search services. The big tech companies are also acting as financial product aggregators.

In April, Alibaba’s finance arm Ant Financial launched Zhao Cai Bao, a marketplace for financial institutions to list financial products to consumers and SMEs.

A number of startups are aggregating financial products, both traditional and not, and provide search and return comparison services. These include Rong360, 91Jingrongchaoshi, Jinfuzi. All three pocketed funding this year.

Haodai, which believes middlemen will remain part of the business model, is an online platform for offline small loan companies and other credit institutions. Founded by former Tencent exec Hao Mingshun, the service is also available on WeChat.

Digital Financial Institutions Get Innovative

Ant Financial has been far ahead of most Chinese tech companies and even the traditional financial institutions. Many believe it will be even bigger than Alibaba Group, which was the biggest ever Chinese company to go public.

Before 2014 Ant Financial was operating Alipay, the online payment solution and mobile service provider, and had been making small loans to retailers on Alibaba’s marketplace. Last year year it added financial product marketplace Zhao Cai Bao, consumer credit product Huabei, and is building a credit scoring system Sesame and an internet-based private bank.

Tencent and Ant Financial so far are the only two internet companies to obtain a license to set up private banks. Tencent’s WeBank, based in Shenzhen like its parent company, has recently launched a website. It is expected that both will begin to offer services this year.

Tencent and Alibaba are the most active tech companies in the internet-based financial market. The two companies and Ping An Insurance have jointly established the insurance company Zhong An for products tailored to the digital economy. Zhong An now provides insurance policies such as products for online shopping, logistics, mobile retail and so on.


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Ctrip.com Bought Israeli UK Based Travelfusion.com

The widely-tipped Chinese OTA global land-grab of 2015 has begun, with news that Ctrip has bought a majority stake in the Israeli UK-based content aggregator Travelfusion.

Themarker reported that Ctrip paid $160 million in cash.

Ctrip.com International, Ltd. is a leading travel service provider of accommodation reservation, transportation ticketing, packaged tours, and corporate travel management in China. It is the largest online consolidator of accommodations and transportation tickets in China in terms of transaction volume. Ctrip aggregates comprehensive travel related information and offers its services through an advanced transaction and service platform consisting of its mobile apps, Internet websites and centralized, toll-free, 24-hour customer service center.

Since its inception in 1999, Ctrip has experienced substantial growth and become one of the best-known travel brands in China.

Travelfusion CEO Moshi Rafiah told Tnooz that the deal was “technology driven.”

The pair have had a commercial relationship since 2013 which will be strengthened by the deal. But Travelfusion will also continue to grow as a standalone business. “Ctrip are the biggest user of our technology and we power the low cost carrier content on the site. Over time we will see more of our products and inventory distributed on Ctrip. “But there will be some reciprocity – and we will be making some of Ctrip’s inventory available to our customers.”

Travelfusion describes itself as a global distribution system for low cost carriers, and has direct connect relationships with more than 250 airlines worldwide (and some with whom it works on a screenscraping basis).

It claims to have access to more LCC content than the established GDSs. It also works with some airline consolidators and is looking to add more scheduled airline content “using NDC as it becomes available,” Rafiah said. The air content is then made available to made online and offline agents in the business and leisure sectors through an API.

Travelfusion also distributes some 700,000 hotel properties in the same way, sourcing the content through a direct connect with wholesalers and some major chains. It also connects to the booking engines of most of the major rail companies in Europe and North America.

Rafiah added that Travelfusion was working to secure rail content from India, China and Japan. “This is proving difficult to secure. Regulatory issues are the problem because we have the technology in place. But we have the same approach to rail as we do to LCCs and that it is to make sure we deal directly with the supplier to get the content.”

From Ctrip’s perspective, the deal is very much focused on making international inventory available to Ctrip’s Chinese customer base.

2014 is widely tipped as the year in which China becomes the world’s biggest outbound market (and the world’s biggest domestic market in 2017) Travelfusion also brings an innovative international payments product to the Ctrip party, combining a payments engine directly into its distribution product.

“Settlement is as much a part of what we do as distribution. We think we have a unique offer in that we settle directly with the airlines who operate outside BSP in their local currency, while allowing the payment to be made in RMBs.”

As a standalone business Rafiah is confident that its existing arrangements with Ctrip’s competitors – including Qunar – will remain in place. “We work with most online travel agents in some capacity. Ctrip will look to leverage our technology but it also wants us to continue to grow as a standalone independent technology business with a truly global footprint.”

Rafiah couldn’t comment on Ctrip’s strategy for international markets, although it will be interesting to see whether having a stake in Travelfusion will ease Ctrip into becoming a global OTA. Qunar, for example, has quietly launched qua.com to test the waters for the international markets, and it is possible that Alibaba’s global aspirations will see its alitrip.com brand operate in a number of territories.

A Ctrip.com global OTA, powered by Travelfusion, with a bit of help from minority stakeholder Priceline Group, could be an interesting start-up in the mature markets of North America and Europe.



Monday, January 5, 2015

Record $15b Israeli high-tech exits in 2014

Israeli high-tech exits doubled to a record $15 billion in 2014. This has been by far the best-ever year for the country's high-tech and biomed sector in terms of exits, according to figures published by PwC Israel.

PwC Israel partner, High-Tech Assurance Practice, Rubi Suliman said, "In 2014, the stars were aligned exactly right for Israeli high-tech. The IPO window was open in the US and England, the maturity of many Israeli companies and investors, the major availability of money for high-tech from buyers and investors, and of course the strength of Israeli high-tech that knew how to reinvent itself and adapt to the times."

In 2013, Israeli exits totaled $7.6 billion and in 2012 exits totaled $5.5 billion. The closest to 2014 was 2006 when exits totaled $10 billion. In 2014, there were 70 IPOs and mergers and acquisitions in Israeli high-tech, up from 45 such deals in 2013. Between 2005 and 2009 the number of deals (but not the total amount of money involved) surpassed 2014, with 76, 93, 88, 84 and 73 deals respectively.

In 2014, there were 18 IPOs totaling $9.8 billion compared with just $1.2 billion raised in 2013. There were also mergers and acquisition worth $5 billion in 2014, down from $6.5 billion in 2013. The fall shows that many more mature Israeli high-tech companies preferred an IPO to being acquired. 52 Israeli companies were acquired in 2014, compared with 39 in 2013.

PwC Israel found that the value of the average deal in 2014 was $212 million, compared with $170 million in 2013. Nasdaq was the main venue for Israeli IPOs in 2014 with 67% of the offerings, London's AIM saw 28% of offerings and the NYSE 5%.

In terms of sectors, semiconductors saw deals worth $5.7 billion in 2014 followed by IT and software with $3.08 billion, life sciences with $2.2 billion, Internet with $1.8 billion, communications with $1.44 billion, and cleantech with $430 million.

Leading IPOs included Mobileye, CyberArk Software Inc. and Crossrider Ltd.


Sunday, January 4, 2015

Ten Chinese Internet-of-Things Startups to Watch in 2015

The Internet of Things, or IoT, emerged as the third wave of internet development and is gradually merging the physical and online worlds. Prompted by the smart hardware boom, this sector is in full bloom in China with repercussions across fields such as smart homes, wearables, connected cities and cars, and beyond.

The size of the Chinese IoT market has soared from RMB 170 billion (around US$27 billion) in 2009 to RMB365 billion in 2012, and exceeded RMB500 billion in 2013 with annual compound growth of almost 30 percent. The burgeoning market is attracting ever more companies: here are ten startups worth watching in the new year.

Xiaomi
Xiaomi is trying to duplicate its business model, so successful in the smartphone market, in various hardware sectors. After initial success with its low-cost fitness bracelet, the company launched a 100-hardware-companies strategy in a bid to connect more smart gadgets in fields like healthcare (iHealth), smart home (Ants, Yeelink), and so on. The company also announced a strategic partnership with Chinese home appliance giant Midea.

Broadlink
Broadlink is smart home solution provider which specializes in IoT Wi-Fi. In addition to existing smart socket and remote controls for infrared devices, Broadlink is also the developer of BroadLink DNA, which helps conventional home appliance makers “smartize” their products. Broadlink’s Wi-Fi solution has been integrated into Xiaomi’s smart router.

Gizwits
Gizwits is a Chinese IoT technology platform that connects home appliances and consumer electronics products to the internet and smartphones. GizWits provides IoT developers with data analytics as well as tools such as remote access, notification, and Over the Air (OTA) firmware upgrades. The company has launched a self-serve software development platform Gizwits 2.0 and a programmable microcontroller board GoKit, for smart home gadgets.

Ayla Networks China
Ayla Networks China is the Chinese arm of U.S.-based Ayla Network, a startup offering cloud connectivity solutions for manufacturers to turn appliances, HVAC and more into intelligent devices. Upon the receipt of a US$14.5 million investment this year, the company is going into the Chinese market with a series of moves like launching a Chinese site, cooperating with Sina and adding a Chinese director to the board. Dave Friedman, CEO and co-founder, believes that China will lead the world in this sector.

Lifesmart
Lifesmart is a Hangzhou-based startup principally engaged in developing smart home devices. Its product line includes a smart control center, smart sockets, surveillance cameras, environment sensors, etc.

Yeelink
Yeelink helps manufacturers build smart products, from hardware design to mobile app development, from the concept stage to initial products.

Landing Technology
Landing Technology is a Shenzhen-based smart home startup, dedicated to developing, manufacturing and selling smart home devices and wearable devices and related know-how. Their “IVYLINK” and “Goldweb” brands cover smart devices and network devices & accessories respectively.

Orvibo
Orvibo is focused on IoT and smart home hardware. Its product line includes smart gadgets, full-digital visual doorbell products, and cloud platforms that provide intelligent services for thousands of IoT terminals. The company’s flagship product Kepler is an intelligent gas detector that promises to protect your home and loved ones from potential dangerous gas leaks.

MXchip
MXchip was incorporated in Shanghai at the beginning of 2005 with a focus on short distance wireless network technology and products.

Phantom
Phantom is a smart home solution provider primarily focusing on smart illumination and surveillance. The company reportedly secured US$1.5 million of pre-A investment last year.


Source: TechNode

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Chinese MedTech Trends to Watch in 2015

As China’s 2009 healthcare reforms have not proved satisfactory, despite being backed by massive investment from the Chinese central government, the authorities have begun to allow further private investment in the healthcare market and a greater role for market forces. The business sector, especially the tech industry and venture capital, have moved fast. 

Most of the major online and mobile healthcare companies in China have pocketed large amounts of funding. Chinese tech giants Tencent and Alibaba made big moves in 2014, intending to address problems surrounding access and affordability in healthcare with web and mobile products or investments. For example, Alibaba announced a “Future Hospital Plan” this May. 

It is considered likely that efforts by Chinese tech companies will stimulate great changes to how Chinese patients access doctors and purchase medicines in the near future. 

Managing doctor visits and medical bills through mobile apps 

To address the long-standing problem of the huge queues in Chinese hospitals, Tencent and Alibaba have enabled hospitals to build mobile features on WeChat and Alipay Wallet respectively to streamline workflows. Now users can book appointments, make payments and check their payment history through a hospital’s WeChat public account or its channel at Alipay Wallet. 

Seeing doctors online before getting treatment 

A handful of Chinese medtech startups, such as Dingxiangyuan (aka DXY, founded in 2000), Haodaifu (founded in 2006), Chunyu Doctor (2011),  and Guahao (2010), have been working on platforms to connect doctors and patients. Tencent invested in two of such services, DXY and Guahao, during 2014. Ping An, the leading insurance Chinese company, launched a similar service last month. 

Chunyu Doctor is mobile only. Doctors are paid to be active on the app and to answer questions from patients. Chunyu has begun monetization through revenue shares from paid offerings doctors list. The company has also developed a childcare app and a heart rate monitor. This year Chunyu raised Series C funding. 

DXY has moved a step further by applying for a clinical license, planning to build clinics across China where doctors on its platform can see and treat patients. Ping An is also building private hospitals where individual doctors can clinic space.  

Apart from online services for doctor-patient communication, DXY also provides mobile apps for drug indexing and medication guides, an online forum for pharmaceutical and medical professionals, and a tool for medical exam preparation. When announcing its US$70 million investment from Tencent in September, DXY said they would develop WeChat-based applications. 

Medicine purchasing process is being revolutionized. 

In early 2014 Alibaba acquired a controlling stake in CITIC 21CN, one of the few Chinese companies with a license for online drug sales and a barcode system for medicines. With the license and drug database, alijk, (or Ali-health) mobile app for to purchase prescription drugs, was built and launched in early December. 

Through the app, users can avoid the notoriously overpriced hospitals medicine and  can instead order from nearby pharmacies which offer lower prices.

A new wave of medtech mobile apps were created in 2014, but few stood out as very special. The two leading mobile apps in women’s health, Dayima and Meet You, both announced large amounts of investment, with both transforming from a menstruation tracker to a community for women’s health. 

Rather more healthcare hardware products emerged this year. For instance, wearables for tracking a baby’s development (such as Lisa and Babytree’s B-smart). Xiaomi, the smart device and software company, has also added iHealth’s blood pressure monitor into its Android hardware product family.