Chinese IT investment group has £500m to burn in London

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Startups to be grown by Cocoon Networks to bring their tech to China

Chinese technology and investment group Cocoon Networks is launching a £500 million London-based venture capital fund aimed at investing in UK and European tech startups.

Cocoon Networks has the backing of China Equity Group, one of the first investors in Baidu – China’s answer to Google – and Hanxin Capital, which specialises in cloud computing and bio tech investments. It will look to invest in tech companies whose products and services show promise and potential for growth in the Chinese market.

The fund will look to invest in tech companies across a wide range of sectors including fintech, biotech, medical devices and the UK’s creative tech industries, like fashion-tech. Companies looking to expand into China will also be offered assistance in navigating Chinese legislation and practical help about doing business there.

techcityAs part of a wider investment, Cocoon Networks, in partnership with University College London, is also setting up the capital’s biggest incubator space, in order to provide the best environment for growing tech startups.

John Zai, CEO of Cocoon Networks, said: “The fund will provide capital to help the development of some excellent technology and innovative projects in London and the UK.

“The fund and incubator programme will bring awareness for more Chinese investors to get into London’s booming technology sector. It will also help many companies grow and expand into China.”

Gordon Innes, CEO of London & Partners, the Mayor of London’s promotional and economic development company, said: “This is a significant vote of confidence in the global nature of London’s tech sector and will deliver significant investment into some of the capital’s brightest and best startups.”

The incubator, a 70,000 sq ft building, is situated in the heart of London’s Tech City close to Moorgate, Liverpool St and Old Street stations. Cocoon says it will not only be an incubating space for technology companies but it will also work with some of London’s world class universities to attract talent, offer accelerator programmes and co-working spaces.

Over the last nine months, 28 Chinese companies, worth £23 million to the city’s economy, have already pledged to set up in London, with that figure expected to rise to nearer 40 by the end of March 2016, said London & Partners.

@AntonySavvas