Daily Entrepreneurship- International (27 March 2019)

Hong Kong-based fintech startup Qupital raises $15M Series A to expand in mainland China

Qupital, a fintech startup that bills itself as Hong Kong’s largest trade financing platform for SMEs, has closed a $15 million Series A led by CreditEase FinTech Investment Fund (CEFIF), with participation from returning investors Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund and MindWorks Ventures, both participants in its seed round. To date, Qupital  has raised $17 million, including a seed round two years ago, and will use its latest funding to expand its supply chain financing products, launch in mainland Chinese cities and hire more people for its tech development and risk management teams.

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SparkLabs Group launches its first university accelerator program at Arizona State University

SparkLabs Group, the network of accelerators and venture funds that has now worked with more than 200 startups around the world, wants to foster the next generation of entrepreneurs with a new program for universities. Called SparkLabs Frontier, the program’s first accelerator will launch at Arizona State University this summer.

SparkLabs Frontier-ASU is open to participants from the university’s programs, including the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, W.P. Carey School of Business and the Thunderbird School of Global Management, as well as alumni. It will begin taking applications on May 13, with the accelerator program starting in July 2019.

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Airbnb just checked in its 500 millionth guest

Many have taken up the home-sharing business on this offer, with the company sharing today the castle supplies its most-booked private room. Along with that fun data point, Airbnb shared a slew of other stats indicating an upward trajectory for the 12-year-old company.

Most notably, Airbnb has just recorded its 500 millionth guest arrival across one of its 6 million homes, yurts, tree houses, boats and more.

Airbnb crossing the half-billion mark isn’t surprising given recent aggressive expansion strategies. Valued at $31 billion, the San Francisco-headquartered business recently announced it would acquire HotelTonight in a deal reported to be worth roughly $465 million.

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Lidar and perception startup Innoviz raises $132 million

Innoviz, the Israel-based startup developing solid-state lidar sensors and perception software for autonomous vehicles, has raised $132 million in a Series C funding round that includes major Chinese financial institutions.

The round, which makes Innoviz one of the better capitalized lidar startups, includes China Merchants Capital (SINO-BLR Industrial Investment Fund, L.P.), Shenzhen Capital Group and New Alliance Capital. Israeli institutional investors Harel Insurance Investments and Financial Services and Phoenix Insurance Company also participated.

The Series C round will remain open for a second closing to be announced in the coming months, the company said.

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Good news for startups! Flipkart’s corporate venture capital fund is here; check out sectors in focus

Flipkart, once India’s most valued startup is now giving back to the ecosystem. Walmart-owned and Amazon India’s arch-rival Flipkart has set up its own corporate venture capital (CVC) fund to invest in early-stage startups in India. Globally, organisations such as Google (Google Ventures), Intel (Intel Capital), Qualcomm (Qualcomm Ventures), Microsoft (Microsoft Ventures) too run such funds to back startups across the world.

The fund would look at areas related to e-commerce, fintech, payments and complementary spaces, Reuters reported. However, Flipkart hasn’t announced further details related to the fund’s corpus, number of startups to be backed annually, ticket size, equity exchange etc.

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