China’s largest P2P marketplace continues to branch out into unexplored territories.
CreditEase refers to itself as a leader in wealth management, credit management, microfinance investment and microcredit loan origination and servicing. The company is generally hailed as China’s largest peer-to-peer lending platform by origination volume, and launched in 2006. Now CreditEase has broken into an entirely new market. The company has launched CreditEase Israel Innovation Fund (CEIIF), raising $30m from its clients in China.
The CEIIF will be the first venture capital fund to focus on Israel. The fund will be managed by Israel Innovation Investment Management Ltd., a Cayman Island-based manager that is jointly owned by CreditEase and its founding partners Tayman Kan and Benjamin Weiss. CEIFF will invest in private technology companies from both Israel and the US, but seemingly with an emphasis on the former. The fund intends to invest across the technology, media, telecommunications, healthcare and smart materials sectors. CEIFF will offer its investors exposure to a mixture of early and later-stage companies.
Richard Williamson, Co-Head of corporate strategy for CreditEase, commented:
"The first closing of CEIIF represents a significant milestone for our wealth-management platform. We are encouraged by the confidence our clients continue to show in our new VC/PE investment products."
"We believe that technology companies in Israel offer interesting investment opportunities for our clients, and we are proud to team up with Tayman and Ben, who bring a unique combination of skills and an impressive joint track record of success."
CreditEase is certainly zoning in on a rich market for technology startups. Only two weeks ago we covered the acquisition of Big Blue Parrot by gaming giant Playtika. Big Blue Parrot had previously raised $2.5m of early-stage funding via the Tel Aviv based equity crowdfunder iAngels. Another of the equity crowdfunding sector’s high profile exits also has ties to Israel, in the form of ReWalk Robotics. ReWalk was twice funded by OurCrowd investors, and ultimately listed on the NASDAQ.
The CEIIF will stand as a valuable addition to CreditEase’s wealth management facilities. CreditEase recently acquired a 49% stake in Shanghai-based Nuode Asset Management, apparently signaling its intent to become a more active manager of client money – rather than to simply serve as a marketplace for connecting lenders and borrowers.