IP platform PatSnap picks up $38M from Sequoia and Xiaomi founder’s fund

PatSnap, a Euro-Asian company that offers a patent and R&D platform and services, has pulled in a $38 million Series D funding round led by existing investors Sequoia and Shunwei Capital, the investment firm founded by Xiaomi co-founder and CEO Lei Jun. Southeast Asia’s Qualgro also took part.

All three backed the company in 2016 when it led an undisclosed Series C round. While PatSnap didn’t give a figure for that previous round, it is saying this time around that it has raised over $100 million to date. Doing some quick via math via figures on Crunchbase suggests that the Series C was something in the region of $50 million.

PatSnap was founded in 2007 and it is based out of the UK and Singapore, with locations in China and the U.S.. The company started out as essentially a directory for IP, helping companies — and particularly enterprises — pull in data for R&D and product development purposes.

The company claims 8,000 clients worldwide, with the U.S. its largest market for revenue. PatSnap said that in China, its second-largest market and a major focus for the firm, it said it has more than 4,500 clients. In addition to its core service, it is focused on going beyond a data repository to offer services for enterprises that help manage internal product development and other R&D initiatives.

“Patent data let us kick down the door and earn respect, but now we’re looking at completely different products,” Ray Chohan, SVP of corporate strategy at PatSnap told TechCrunch in an interview. “We are working on new products for R&D with a long-term view of becoming the software stack for R&D teams.”

That’s exactly how this new capital will be put to work, Tiong said. Related to that, the company plans to open an office in Toronto, Canada, for development. Already, the company has 700 staff across a range of offices that include London (commercial), China (product), Singapore (machine learning) and LA (go to market).

Series D is a fairly advanced stage for a startup in Southeast Asia (and London) and exits are something that the tech industry is giving more thought to given the growth of the ecosystem, and events such as Sea’s U.S. listing last year. Despite that, Chohan — who founded the company’s London-based office — said that he’s not thinking too hard about the future for now.

“Our obsession is our employees, customers and building great products, if we can do that then the byproduct of a liquidity event will happen by itself,” he explained.

Chohan added that PatSnap is “well funded” and on course to become profitable over the next two to three years.