Greater China Digest: Sequoia leads Phanes deal; Turn Capital invests in Taiwan’s Dapp

By May 8, 2021DApps
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Laboratory equipment. Photo: Pixabay

Sequoia Capital China has led a $40-million Series B round for US-based biotech startup Phanes Therapeutics, while Turn Capital has acquired Taiwanese blockchain startup Dapp Pocket.

Sequoia China leads $40m Series B round for biotech firm Phanes

Phanes Therapeutics, a biotech startup with operations in the US and China, has secured $40 million in a Series B round of financing led by Sequoia Capital China, according to a statement on Thursday.

Chinese private equity firm DYEE Capital; Volcanics Venture, an early-stage venture capital firm that invests in intellectual technology and healthcare; life sciences investor Delos Capital; and Wen Zhou Fund also invested in the new round.

Phanes’ existing shareholders including K2 Venture Partners, an early-stage investment unit of Beijing-based new economy investment firm K2VC, also re-upped in the deal. Chinese investment firm Life Venture acted as the exclusive financial advisor of the deal.

Phanes focuses on the discovery and development of innovative biologic drugs for tumours and eye diseases. With 17 patents under its belt, the firm has brought several product candidates to the clinical trial stage in preparation for investigational new drug applications, according to the statement.

Headquartered in San Diego, the firm was founded in July 2016 by Ming Wang, who previously served as vice president & disease area leader of diabetes/metabolism at Johnson & Johnson’s pharmaceutical arm Janssen. It has operations in Shanghai and Guangdong, China.

Joseph Phua’s family office acquires Taiwan’s blockchain firm Dapp Pocket

Turn Capital, the family office of Asia’s live streaming major 17LIVE’s co-founder Joseph Phua, has agreed to acquire Taiwanese blockchain startup Dapp Pocket, Phua posted on his LinkedIn on Thursday.

In his post retweeting a report from tech media platform e27, Phua said that the acquisition will bring Dapp’s founder Anderson Chen and his team together to develop OMO, a cryptocurrency exchange that will focus on the Southeast Asian market – where Phua felt the existence of “a gap” to fill.

OMO is expected to debut on a mobile app and its website in June 2021.

Dapp, founded in 2018, offers two products including Dapp Pocket, a cryptocurrency wallet that enables decentralised finance (DeFi), or transactions on platforms that facilitate lending outside of banks. It also runs Cappuu, a yield generator in beta that will allow users to easily on-ramp fiat money to USD Coin (USDC), a stable coin cryptocurrency whose value is pegged directly to the US dollar, through credit cards.

The startup’s early investors include Taipei-based VC firm Appworks as well as incubators Taiwan Startup Stadium (TSS) and NTU Corporate Accelerator Program.

The acquisition, in which financial terms remained undisclosed, was led by Evie Zhang, who previously worked at Grab-backer Vertex Ventures where she invested in what was then known as Paktor/M17 as the group’s first investor. Zhang’s LinkedIn page shows that she joined Turn Capital as a partner in May 2021.

The deal came less than a year after Phua stepped down as group CEO of 17LIVE. Phua held the position since 2017 after dating app Paktor, which he had formed in January 2013, merged with 17.live to form M17 Entertainment. The firm rebranded to 17LIVE in October 2020.

Paktor was bought out from the merged entity by Singapore-based Kollective Ventures last May.

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