Lightspeed China raises $920M for new funds, adds five partners

Lightspeed China Partners, the China-focused vehicle of Lightspeed Venture Partners, said Tuesday it has closed the largest fundraising rounds in its history. The new injection came under three years after its last raise in early 2019.

The capital went towards two funds: Lightspeed China Partners V with $460 million for early-stage startups and Lightspeed China Partners Select II with $460 million for growth-stage opportunities. Both will be seeking investments in green tech, deep tech, enterprise tech, health tech and consumer tech, the firm said.

The Select fund, which completed its first close in January 2019, has an initial check size of $20-30 million, TechCrunch learned, while the early-stage fund’s initial check size is about $5-15 million. The idea is for the Select fund to invest in top-performing companies backed by the early-stage fund, such as Hesai, a major lidar maker in China, though Select also looks for new investments.

Lightspeed Venture Partners, rooted in Silicon Valley, started in 1999 and has gradually extended its footprint to Israel, India, Europe, Southeast Asia and China, where it began investing in 2006. Lightspeed China has since built up a local investment team like its counterparts IDG and Sequoia. In the past five years, the firm saw a number of notable IPOs, including e-commerce giants Pinduoduo and Meituan, freight matching platform Full Truck Alliance, and electric vehicle upstart Xpeng.

We’ve written some of its growth-stage portfolio companies, including aforementioned Hesai; Laiye, which aspires to be China’s Uipath; and Starfield, one of the meat replacement startups that have emerged in China recently.

Alongside its landmark raise, Lightspeed China also added five new partners. Jia Zhu, Francis Kao and Jason Wang were promoted to partners. It also brought in two new partners — Wei Cai, who was previously responsible for Alibaba’s investment in deep tech, and Daniel Sun, who jointly led investments in the consumer and TMT (technology, media, and telecom) sectors at the China Renaissance New Economy Fund.

The firm’s two new funds were “oversubscribed”, which is “evidence of the strong support garnered from returning and new institutional limited partners across the U.S., Europe and Asia,” said James Mi, who helped Google build its China offshoot before founding Lightspeed China.

“As our society is facing the significant challenges of climate change and inequality, we believe it is important to focus on startup companies with innovative products and services that can bring positive impact to the world,” said Mi.

Limited partners who participated in the latest rounds include endowments, foundations, fund of funds, family offices, and private pensions.

Added more information about the funds on November 30, 2021.