The Sino-French alliance for digital start-ups gets up and running

May 4, 2020


In just a few months, Cathay Capital, the fund backed by the French state, China and industrial companies, has entered the capital of 5 start-ups on 3 continents (Asia, Europe and the United States

By Anne Drif/LES ECHOS

France and China have got their digital alliance well under way. Hardly a few weeks after the signing of an agreement in the gilded halls of the French and Chinese republics last summer, the 200 million Euro investment fund for Chinese, French and American start-ups has certainly not been cast aside into the maze of the political system. Baptised in the presence of Lo Keqiang, the Chinese Prime Minister, and Manuel Valls, Cathay Capital has just signed 5 investments with this fund: two in China, two others in the United States, and in France, one already concluded and another in the process of being finalized.
The investment company, led by Mingpo Cai, announces this Tuesday that it is entering the capital structure of FollowAnalytics, a platform of personalised marketing for mobile applications. Already supported by Marc Benioff, who founded SalesForce at the end of 2013, and present in Silicon Valley, the company has around 40 prestigious American and European clients, including AXA, L’Oréal, BNP Paribas and Renault). Last week in the United States, the French-Chinese investor also finalized its investment in Quantifind, a platform specialized in managing brand strategies using data analysis. In the context of this financing round of 30 million dollars, Cathay Capital is taking a seat at the board alongside a group of American investors (Redpoint, US Venture Partners, Comcast Ventures etc.). And, at the beginning of February, Accel Partners, Greylock Partners and Ignition Partners welcomed Cathay within the capital structure of the American data-wrangling company Trifacta for a 35 million dollar fundraising.

The fund has been allocated 200 million Euros, with half of this apportioned by bpifrance and China Development Bank

New frontiers
“Our strategy across three continents, and especially in China, has convinced the best foreign funds, including American ones, that we were the ideal partner to help their portfolio companies grow,”, explains Mingpo Cai. By definition, Cathay Capital’s penetration into the Chinese market is far from being a simple official photo. The fund has also just signed two investments in the country. In December, the fund invested in Meet You, alongside the American fund Matric. Launched by Fangyi Chen, a 29-year-old entrepreneur, in 2013, this community-based platform allows its 100 million-strong female users to monitor their key health and physical wellbeing indicators (including pregnancy and menstrual cycles) by connecting to an integrated social network. “An international reach is today vital for digital companies who are keen to rapidly widen the uses of their products and services. And this also goes for Chinese start-ups who already have millions of clients,” adds Ming Po Cai. “Uncertain times have often been periods in which leaders have really emerged through timely investment responding to as yet unsatisfied market needs.”
Backed for 200 million Euros, with half of this apportioned by bpifrance and China Development Bank, the financial arm of the Chinese authorities, as well as French and Chinese entrepreneurs and companies, Cathay Capital continues to arouse signs of interest to widen its investor base. “We open new frontiers for both large groups and entrepreneurs, acting as an observation post for new digital markets across three continents”, points out its founder. This has been illustrated by Valeo, which invested 22 million Euros in the fund. And more are following!

Technology across three continents

Backed by Marc Benioff, the founder of SalesForce, this marketing platform for mobile apps already has around forty large American and European clients

This intelligent American platform for brands has gathered 30 million dollars in financing from American funds and Cathay to accelerate its international development