Tencent looks for early-stage startup bets, likely to invest $5-15M

Tencent Holdings, the world’s fifth-largest Internet company and the operator of the WeChat messaging platform, is actively scouring for early-stage bets in India, as the social media giant looks to transport its hugely successful strategy from China.
The Shenzhen-headquartered company has held preliminary discussions with two startups - social networking platform ShareChat and consumer lending venture Kissht - according to people with knowledge of the talks. There is no certainty that the talks will indeed translate into investments.
Tencent’s new focus on relatively young ventures marks a diversification of its strategy in India. Till date, the company, which had a market capitalisation of $496.25 billion as of Wednesday, has primarily made latestage investments in India in companies such as Flipkart, Ola and Practo. 
ShareChat, which counts smartphone maker Xiaomi and Chinese venture capital firm ShunWei Capital as investors, was founded in 2015. Kissht, founded a year later, counts Fosun RZ Capital as an investor.
Diversification Move
It is unclear if Tencent will invest from its balance sheet or route the funds through one of its subsidiaries, a list that includes Tencent Industry Win-Win Fund, Tencent Public Space and Tencent Industry Collaboration Fund. Emails sent to Tencent, Kissht and ShareChat did not elicit any response till the time of going to press.
“Tencent could invest between $5 million and $15 million across segments including, gaming, content, social media and consumer lending,” one of the people cited above said on condition of anonymity.
The company has a strong investment record in all these segments, having backed Ubisoft in the gaming space and German online bank N26 last month.
Tencent will continue to place large strategic bets on mature Indian ventures as it looks to pick up significant minority stakes in market leaders, people familiar with the company’s plans told ET.
“It’s more of a diversification of (Tencent’s) investment strategy. They have done that very well, particularly in China, and are looking to repeat that in India,” one of them said.
Of Tencent’s 70 disclosed investments in 2017, 36% were in early stage ventures and 23% towards late-stage ventures, show data sourced from Crunchbase. Seed-stage funding made up about 3% of the known funding total. Tencent, its Chinese rival Alibaba Group, and Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp have become increasingly aggressive in India the past 12 months, picking up stakes in some of the country’s most richly valued companies and driving up valuations to stratospheric levels in the process.

Trending News

Xiaomi pumps Rs 3,500 crore into India business

BlackBuck's out to raise $150M in new round, valuation likely to jump to $800 M

With $21 Billion, Azim Premji among world’s top philanthropists

Google agreed on a $45M exit package for India-origin exec accused of sex abuse

HSBC pegs Zomato's valuation at $3.6 billion ahead of Swiggy

PayU in talks to acquire online payments firm Wibmo for $60M

Quikr close to acquiring refurbished goods marketplace Zefo in all-stock deal

What life looks like after a layoff from an IT company

General Atlantic & Tencent pump in another Rs 80 Cr in ed-tech unicorn Byju's

US Senator Warren vows to break up Amazon, Facebook, Google

SoftBank extends tech reach with $5B Latin American fund

Coverfox hits the market to raise $50M in new financing round

Cognizant faces US lawsuit alleging discrimination

China's Huawei sues US over federal ban on using its products

Germany's Delivery Hero acquires Zomato's UAE biz, invests in India ops

Ahead of deadline, debate rages on e-commerce policy

Flipkart rejigs reporting of Myntra-Jabong head Amar Nagaram

Grofers raises fresh funds from existing investors, valuation hits $425M

Sachin Bansal invests Rs 250 Cr each in NBFCs Altico & IndoStar: Report

I-bank Wolet files $800k suit over Flipkart’s Upstream buy

Flipkart FY18 revenue up 50%, but losses grow 5x

Pine Labs in talks to acquire Amazon-backed Qwikcilver for $100M

India can become 2nd largest 5G market in 10 years: Huawei

Alibaba rival Pinduoduo seeks to raise $1.5B

Twitter Q4 revenue grows to $909M as video ad sales surge

Mukesh Ambani to invest $1.4B in West Bengal, will help e-commerce expansion

Etail may lose Rs 40,000 crore, retail to get a 3rd of it

Steadview Capital invests $74M in Ola valuing it at around $6B

Byju’s ups revenue to Rs 490 cr in FY 18, losses drop by half

Agritech startups Sabziwala and LivLush merge their business under new entity Kamatan

Avail Finance lands $17.2M from Matrix Partners & Ola, Freecharge and Flipkart founders

RBI suggests tax sops, self-regulation to build fintech space

Swiggy hires new CEO for its Access Service, gets new CFO

Logistics company Delhivery registers 44% increase in FY17 revenues

WeWork to acquire one of the oldest social networks, Meetup

Qualcomm rejects Broadcom's $103 billion offer

EasyRewardz gets $2 million Series-A funding

'Anemic' iPhone 8 demand drags Apple shares lower

Lending platform Lenden Club gets Rs 3.5cr in Equity Investment

On festive sales, Flipkart says 65% clients from Tier-II cities