Noted Silicon Valley venture capital fund Sequoia Capital has raised nearly $1 billion for later-stage U.S. investments and roughly $2.4 billion for venture and growth deals in China, according to paperwork filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday.
The firm, famous for its investments in U.S. companies like Google, Instagram, Dropbox, LinkedIn, Snap and WhatsApp, is also an investor in some of China’s most successful startups.
These are companies like Alibaba, China’s e-commerce answer to Amazon; Ant Financial, a multibillion-dollar financial services powerhouse; JD.com, another e-commerce powerhouse; ByteDance, the owner of America’s latest social media sensation, TikTok; and Yitu, one of the national leaders in the development of machine learning applications.
These investments have not come without their share of controversy abroad. Yitu has been linked to the technology dragnet currently in place in Xinjiang, where an estimated 1 million religious and ethnic minorities are currently interned. Meanwhile, TikTok’s popularity in the U.S. has come with accusations of censorship in its treatment of posts that were supportive of both Xinjiang’s imprisoned population and the dissidents protesting mainland China’s increasing control over Hong Kong politics.
Setting politics aside, Sequoia has brought in $1.8 billion for its Sequoia Capital China Growth Fund V and about $550 million for Sequoia Capital China Venture Fund VII, per filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
It’s a sign that when valuations are concerned (ByteDance alone is now worth $78 billion, according to some reports), investors can overlook the potential political pitfalls of dealing with China.
Sequoia, led by Doug Leone, Michael Moritz, Roelof Botha and others, recently sought $8 billion for a global fund, its largest-ever fundraise, holding a first close of $6 billion in June 2018. In addition, the firm operates Sequoia Capital India, with offices in Menlo Park, Bengaluru, Mumbai, New Delhi, Singapore, Tel Aviv, Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai.
News of the fund comes at the tail end of another strong year for venture capital fundraising in the U.S. Firms, including 41-year-old NEA, filed to raise as much as $3.6 billion for a single fund. Meanwhile, Norwest Venture Partners, DCVC and Accel all closed new vehicles exceeding $500 million.