It’s one thing to launch a startup in the UK but growing it beyond these shores is another challenge entirely. Fortunately ambitious entrepreneurs have a bit more support now that Silk Ventures, the VC firm, has raised its first investment fund aimed at helping European and US startups expand into the Chinese market.
The London-based firm was founded in 2015 with the backing of the Chinese government and half of the new $500m fund is backed by the state-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission Shenzhen, which manages the country’s state-owned enterprises. The other half comes from an unnamed “group of confidential strategic corporations”. Following in the footsteps of Cocoon Networks’ £500m fund from last year, Silk Ventures is now on the lookout for promising series A and later-stage scaleups at the forefront of AI, the internet of things, fintech, robotics and medtech.
Having previously helped Chinese companies expand overseas and supported international startups looking to enter China, this fund signals a new stage for Silk Ventures’ journey. “We are proud to announce our first fund which will enable us to invest into some of the world’s most promising scaling businesses and technologies,” said Angelica Anton, the company’s founding partner. “We are the only venture fund in the world doing what we are doing.”
She added that the firm was started “to change the way Chinese capital marries Western technologies” and that Silk Ventures is proud of the “cultural and operational know-how within our expanding team.” These insights into Chinese culture and legislation will certainly be a great help for the lucky scaleups finding themselves at the receiving end of the fund.
And while Silk Ventures hasn’t announced which startups have been selected yet, with so much tech talent here in the UK we’re betting that one or two British entrepreneurs will make the cut.