The seven largest rounds involving corporates so far this year have all been to Asia-based e-commerce companies.
E-commerce funding is trending toward a five-year low this year, after peaking in 2015 at over $16.5B.
Corporate participation in deals to private e-commerce companies also peaked in 2015, at nearly 150 deals, but at the current run-rate this year will see corporate-backed deal activity in e-commerce fall below 2014 levels.
This brief includes data on:
- Annual corporate financing history
- Quarterly corporate financing history
- Deal share by stage
- Top markets for corporate e-commerce investment
- Most active corporate investors
- Most active corporate investors in early-stage e-commerce
We define e-commerce as companies using websites or mobile apps to sell physical goods, as well as enablement companies that build these sites and apps. We excluded companies focused on services, such as Uber, or those delivering food and groceries (see our food delivery category for trends there).
Annnual deals and dollars
Corporate investors participated in 146 deals worth over $4.3B in 2015 — a record high. However, so far this year corporates participated in just 54 e-commerce deals worth $1.5B, a run-rate that would lead to full-year deals falling to a four-year low.
The seven largest rounds involving corporates so far this year have all been to Asia-based companies. They include a $500M growth equity round to China’s China Internet Plus Holding, with Tencent’s participation; a $275M private equity round to United Arab Emirates-based Souq.com backed by media conglomerate Naspers; and a $205M Series A to China’s Guazi, with investors including online marketplace 58.com.
In 2015 corporates participated in 12 e-commerce $100M+ mega-rounds. These included Wish (the $500M Series C included corporate investor JD.com), Jet.com (the $500M Series B included corporate investors Alibaba and Google Ventures), as well as a mega-round to Snapdeal (Alibaba, Foxconn).
Quarterly deals and dollars
Quarterly corporate participation in e-commerce deals has decreased for three straight quarters, and in Q1’16 hit its lowest level since Q3’14.
Deals had hit a record high of 43 in Q2’15, and funding from these corporate-backed deals peaked in Q3’15 at $1.7B.
Corporate financing by stage
Not surprisingly, corporate investors tend to invest in later-stage companies. Deals to seed/angel stage companies represent 40-50% of total deals in e-commerce, but less than one-third of deals with corporate participation. In 2015, just 19% of deals with corporate involvement were at the seed/angel stage, while 23% were Series A, and 17% were Series B.
The Other category — mainly corporate minority rounds — has also accounted for a large proportion of deals, taking 19% deal share in 2016 year-to-date.
Corporates have invested most frequently in US-based private e-commerce companies since 2012, with China, India, Germany, Japan, and Malaysia following the US in the rankings. No other market attracted more than 15 deals with corporate participation.
The US market captured 31% of e-commerce deals with corporate participation, compared to 47% of all e-commerce deals, meaning that corporate activity is less US-centric than overall deal volume.
Most active corporate investors
Google Ventures, CyberAgent Ventures (of the Tokyo-based gaming company CyberAgent), and Intel Capital lead the most active corporate list.
|8||ITOCHU Technology Ventures|
Most active early-stage corporate investors
Looking specifically at corporates active in early-stage deals (Series B deals or earlier), Chinese tech giants Tencent and Alibaba disappear from the rankings.
The top three players — Google Ventures, CyberAgent Ventures, and Intel Capital — are the same as the top-ranked investors in e-commerce overall. The new list entrants include Qualcomm Ventures, Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments, and Simon Venture Group. Bertelsmann has funded several subscription e-commerce startups including dog treat service BarkBox while Simon Venture Group has bet on several women’s fashion startups like FabFitFun, Le Tote, and BaubleBar.
|4||Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments|
|8||Simon Venture Group|
|8||ITOCHU Technology Ventures|
|8||KDDI Open Innovation Fund|
Business social graph
We used CB Insights’ Business Social Graph, which shows how investors and target companies in any industry are interrelated, to visualize the e-commerce investments of the most active corporates (across all stages).
There are several companies that have more than one of the most active corporates as investors. Jet.com, for example, received investments from both Alibaba Group and Google Ventures. ITOCHU Technology Ventures and Tencent share two portfolio companies in furniture site Hem and apparel site Fab.com (since acquired).
See the full graphic below — please click to enlarge. Graphic includes investments from 1/1/2012 to 5/31/16.
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