As my colleague Sarah Lacy reported in April, investment firm DCM launched a $100 million Asian A-Fund to support early-stage Android entrepreneurs. DCM partnered a number of notable Asian tech players including gaming giant Tencent, Japan’s largest mobile gaming social network GREE and Japan’s second largest mobile operator KDDI, to fund startups that are leveraging the Android ecosystem. Today, the A-Fund and DCM are announcing seven startups that received funding through the vehicle.
Jason Krikorian, general partner at DCM, tells me that the investments range anywhere from $250,000 to $5 million in companies and each investment is ‘stage agnostic.’ Krikorian says that over the next three years, the A-fund will make approximately 30 total investments. He said the fund is mainly interested in companies that are pursuing global market opportunities on the Android platform.
DCM and its strategic investors were motivated to launch the A-Fund not only in light of Android’s rapid adoption, but also because of its technological flexibility and openness. Krikorian adds that there is still more innovation yet to take place, especially in the area of tablets and app development.
The first A-Fund portfolio companies are:
Appia: Creators of a white-label mobile app store platform that processes over one million downloads per day for operators, handset manufacturers, and other partners. The company powers mobile app storefronts for more than 40 partners, including four of the world’s top five handset manufacturers (Samsung, T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon Wireless) as well as for Opera Software
PapayaMobile: The gaming company is one of the most popular Android mobile social gaming networks in China and the US with over 30 million users. Regionally, the fastest growing market for Papaya is China which has experienced over 500% growth since January 2011. Europe is close behind at 224% and then the United States at 222%
Happy Elements: The Beijing-based Happy Elements is one of the top Asian social gaming developers on Facebook and has launched a number of popular gaming titles in Japan, China and South Korea. Happy Elements has 2.5 million active daily users, develops the second and third most popular games on Mixi in Japan, as well as the most popular game on Kaixin001 in China. The company just announced a new $30 million round of funding.
Kanbox: The startup is China’s leading cloud storage and sharing service provider.
Loki Studios: The mobile gaming company develops location and environment-aware smartphone games, starting with their flagship monster battle game, Geomon.
Kakao Corp: The startup is the developer of KakaoTalk, a cross-platform mobile messaging application with over 25 million users worldwide.
Already, DCM says that these startups are working with some of the strategic partners to help with distribution and other areas.