The venture capital money is pouring into the Chinese P2P space. Jimubox’s Series C comes barely a few days after Lufax’smonumental $485m fundraise – a round that saw the latter company valued at just shy of £10 billion. The lead investor in the Jimubox round was UK-based Investec Bank – with Haitong Kaiyuan Investment, Mandra Capital and Zhong Capital following in their wake. Existing backers Matrix China Partners, Xiaomi, ShunWei Capital, Ventech China and Magic Stone Alternative were also involved.
In late October 2014 Jimubox announced plans to raise several hundred million dollars over the coming year, and appears to making good on that promise. Today’s sizable fundraise comes just 7 months after the platform raised $37m from recurring backers ShunWei Capital and Xiaomi. Xiaomi is a leading mobile phones provider. According to Tech in Asia, Xiaomi’s support resulted in a significant uptick in transactional volumes for Jimubox. Prior to Xiaomi’s involvement, 50% of traffic flowing into the Jimubox platform came via mobile. That number now stands at 70%. Mobile usage is fundamental to the P2P industry’s operation in China. Greg Gibb, Chairman of Lufax, cited a similar breakdown of mobile traffic when speaking at LendIt USA 2015.
Jimubox now has 23,000 borrowers and, according to CFO Barry Freeman, a much larger but undisclosed number of lenders. Since launching in 2013, Jimubox claims to have funded a total of between RMB 6bn ($971m) and RMB 7bn ($1.113bn) in loans. Freeman indicated that roughly a quarter of these loans have hit the platform’s secondary market, pointing to the lively nature of the exchange as a testament to the good health of the platform.
Taking a world view for one moment, over the past 3 days we’ve reported on a staggering $719m of equity investment: $485m for Lufax,$150m for Funding Circle and now $84m for Jimubox. The appetite among VCs for potentially geography-defining P2P operators is for now insatiable.
Somewhat unsurprisingly, the next story on our editorial agenda involves another double-digit million dollar equity fundraise – this time for Smava in Germany.