Chinese venture capital firm Qiming Venture Partners is set to lead a $15-20 million Series B funding round in regional language self-publishing platform Pratilipi, said two people aware of the development, requesting anonymity.
The deal will mark Qiming’s first investment in India, outside its home market and the US.
Qiming is known for backing some of China’s most prominent technology firms, including handset maker Xiaomi and food delivery startup Meituan Dianping, which went public last year at a valuation of $55 billion.
Pratilipi’s existing investors, including Nexus Venture Partners, Omidyar Network and Chinese firm Shunwei Capital, are likely to participate in the round, said one of the people cited above.
Its other investors include WEH Ventures, Times Internet and Atul Goel, managing director of Essel Group’s E-City Ventures.
Set up in 2015 by Ranjeet Pratap Singh, Sankaranarayanan Devarajan, Rahul Ranjan, Sahradayi Modi and Prashant Gupta, Pratilipi, owned by Nasadiya Tech Pvt. Ltd, provides a platform for people to read and write stories in nine languages, including Tamil, Malayalam and Gujarati.
Pratilipi chief executive Ranjeet Pratap Singh declined to comment on the fundraise. Nexus, Omidyar, Shunwei and Qiming did not respond to e-mails seeking comment.
Pratilipi had raised $1 million in a round led by Nexus in February 2016, followed by a $4.3 million Series A round led by Omidyar in February 2018.
Mint reported on 10 January Pratilipi is in talks to raise $15-20 million from new and existing investors, which may include a new Chinese investor.
Qiming’s entry shows the growing interest of Chinese investors in Indian content startups.
Led by Indian language social network startup ShareChat, such startups have seen deep-pocketed Chinese investors and firms back them after they have scaled their native markets.
While Shunwei has invested in ShareChat, voice-based knowledge sharing platform Vokal, and video-sharing app Clip, ByteDance—known for short video app TikTok and social network Helo—has invested in language news aggregator Dailyhunt.
Mint reported on Monday that Tencent Holdings, best known for its WeChat messenger, besides a host of games, is in early discussions to lead a $200 million funding round in ShareChat.
Tencent also led a $50 million round in news and entertainment content aggregator NewsDog last May.
China’s online retail giant Alibaba has also backed UC News, a news app meant exclusively for India.
Qiming currently manages a portfolio of over $4 billion across 12 funds, and invests in consumer internet, healthcare, information technology and clean-tech startups.
Last April, it had announced the close of three funds totalling $1.39 billion, including a $120 million US-focused healthcare fund.