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Hong Kong Startup News Roundup - 30 August 2021


Online pet insurer OneDegree raises US$28 million amid strong investor appetite for Hong Kong digital start-ups

OneDegree, Hong Kong’s only online pet insurer, has raised US$28 million in its latest funding round, it said on Monday.

The start-up is among four purely online insurers that started operations last year as part of a push by the Hong Kong Insurance Authority to promote the use of more technology by the insurance sector to reduce costs and enhance services. Such companies can only use the internet and apps to sell their products and cannot hire agents.

The company is, in fact, just the latest Hong Kong start-up to announce its fundraising plans over the past seven days, which suggests that the city’s firms remain attractive to investors despite Beijing’s regulatory crackdown, which has since July created a lot of volatility in the stock markets in Hong Kong and mainland China.


Hong Kong’s DayDayCook heads to Nasdaq via merger with a blank cheque company, blazing a new fundraising trail for start-ups 

DayDayCook, a recipe hub founded by former HSBC banker-turned-online influencer Norma Chu, will merge with a New York-listed special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), becoming the first Hong Kong start-up focusing on internet consumption to head for the capital markets via the so-called blank cheque route.

DayDayCook’s merger with Ace Global Business Acquisitions values the nine-year-old start-up with 80 million active users at US$300 million in enterprise value. The combined company is aiming to raise up to US$40 million from private-equity investors, Ace Global said in a press statement.


Miss HK Lisa-Marie Tse Vetted Hong Kong Food Tech Startup Allklear Wraps HK$10M Series Pre-A Funding, Now Valued at almost $100M, Leading New Trends of Healthy Living 

A Hong Kong food tech startup combining nature and technology, Allklear, has completed Series Pre-A funding, raising HK$10M from lead investor Gobi Partners, private investor Miss Hong Kong 2020 Lisa-Marie Tse, and co-investors—Chartwell Ventures Limited, Vectr Ventures and Novel Tycoon. Allklear is now valued at nearly HK$100M.

Amid a new wave of healthy living and futuristic food trends, plant-based milk and vegan meat options have seen rapid growth in market share and became a promising industry to invest in. The funding Allklear secured reflects the tremendous potential investors see in Future Salad, and will be used to strengthen the company's foundation in Hong Kong, develop new products and speed up its entry into the vibrant mainland Chinese and international markets with the goal to improving people's health and promoting green living and vegan diet.

Xiaomi buys self-driving tech startup to propel EV ambitions

Xiaomi Corp. will buy autonomous driving technology startup Deepmotion for about US$77.4 million, sealing a deal to help further its ambitions of getting into the fast-expanding field.

The company announced the acquisition after reporting better-than-expected results for the second quarter, when a recovery in key markets like India helped it overtake Apple Inc. to become the world’s second-largest phone vendor by shipments. Revenue surged 64 percent to 87.79 billion yuan (US$13.6 billion) in the quarter ended June, surpassing the 85.01 billion yuan average of estimates. 

Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Lei Jun is now spearheading a drive to take Xiaomi beyond smartphones. The 51-year-old is personally leading a project to make electric vehicles and the company has pledged an initial investment of US$10 billion over the next decade in the business. Lei has said the company has deep enough pockets to fund such a project, which requires years of heavy investment in development and manufacturing before the first car can even be sold.


Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing : China's SenseTime prepares for Hong Kong IPO despite tech regulations and U.S blacklist

China's artificial intelligence start up SenseTime Group has identified the mainland's tightening technology regulatory regime as a key risk for investors in its proposed Hong Kong initial public offering (IPO), according to its filings. SenseTime, which is also blacklisted in the U.S, lodged its preliminary filings Friday with the Hong Kong Exchange and Clearing Ltd, operator of the city's stock exchange. 

It did not identify a raising size but Reuters reported on Aug 19 the firm is aiming to raise up to $2 billion. SenseTime declined to comment on the size of the deal. The company provides technology-based applications including, facial recognition and video analysing and autonomous driving. In the filings, SenseTime said China's changing regulations, especially towards sensitive data handling, could impact its business but it was unable to quantify the effects of the new rules.

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