Venture Capital Deals Of The Week: Alibaba Invests $717M In Rural China

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Rural China e-commerce: Alibaba ( BABA ) invested $717M in Huitongda Network Co., an e-commerce platform that could expand the tech giant's sales reach to rural areas. Other investors include Shunwei Capital, China Merchants Bank, and Jiangsu Govtor Capital. The funding brought

Huitongda operates in 18 provinces and over 15K towns. The platform includes more than 80K smaller stores across the region.

Competition: Alibaba's Rural Taobao includes 29 provinces, 700 counties, and 30K villages and accounts for over $15.9B of Alibaba's sales. Alibaba competitor ( JD ) is working on delivery drones to reach rural customers, a market that includes nearly 600M people in China. Pingduoduo raised $3B earlier this month in a round led by Tencent due to its strong rural base.

Data storage: Recode reported that SoftBank's ([[SFTBF]], [[SFTBY]]) Vision Fund was in talks to participate in a $150M round for data-storage company Cohesity. Sources say the round isn't set in stone yet so the numbers could change. Cohesity had a $900M valuation before this funding and should top $1B after the funding.

Cohesity was founded by Nutanix ( NTNX ) co-founder Mohit Aron and offers "secondary storage" to enterprise clients, meaning the startup sells its platform that uses the cloud to upload backup data for protection.

Competition: Dell ( DVMT ), Commvault ( CVLT ), and Rubrik ($1.3B valuation, IVP backing, close to $300M global bookings run rate), to name three.

Cryptocurrency stabilization: GV ([[GOOG]], [[GOOGL]]) participated in a $133M round for cryptocurrency startup Basis, which wants to create a "stable coin" with an elastic supply that can adjust to keep the value around a dollar, unlike other more turbulent cryptocurrencies. Other participants in the round, which started last fall, include Bain Capital Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Andreessen Horowitz.

There aren't a ton of details available about the Basis system. TechCrunch suggests it could include the system creating more of the Basecoin currency when demand rises and reduce the supply with decreasing demand. Investors would benefit from the rising and falling waves. Read more about how this could all work here .

SE Asia lending: SoftBank Ventures Korea led a $25M Series B round for P2P lending platform Funding Societies, which operates in Southeast Asia. Other investors included Sequoia India, Golden Gate Ventures, and Alpha JWC Ventures. The round brought total funding up to $32.6M .

Funding Societies, which says the B round was oversubscribed, has raised credit lines from lenders to small- to medium-sized enterprise borrowers. Personal loans could come in the future. As of August 2016, the company had dispersed 8.7M Singaporean dollars, which has now grown to SGD 145M . The lender rate stands at over 60K and the default rate at under 1.5%.

IoT emergency system: Microsoft Ventures (MSFT) participated in a $16M funding round for emergency tech company RapidSOS. Highland Capital Partners led the round with participation from CSAA.

RapidSOS wants to upgrade the public safety infrastructure in the United States. The company raised over $35M in five years and worked to develop an emergency platform linking IoT devices directly to first responders and 9-1-1. The linking includes data from connected devices ranging from health wearables to smart home smoke density sensors.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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