JD.com, Inc. (Nasdaq:JD), China’s leading online direct sales company, today announced its launch of a series of initiatives to help finance, develop and promote the creation of start-ups in China. The new JD Equity Crowdfunding platform, which builds upon JD.com’s success in the area of Internet finance, is expected to be China’s largest equity crowdfunding platform upon its launch today.
“I know from personal experience how important it is for entrepreneurs to have access to knowledge and early funding,” said Richard Liu, founder and Chief Executive Officer of JD.com. “As the leader in Chinese e-commerce, JD.com is ideally positioned to create a premium platform to give China’s early-stage companies access to resources and seed capital from a broad range of investors. With the advantages of JD.com’s national brand, resources and commitment to supporting early-stage companies, we are confident that JD.comwill become the leading platform for equity crowdfunding in China. We look forward to creating innovation and value for investors, consumers and start-ups.”
JD Equity Crowdfunding, which expands the range of offerings from JD Crowdfunding, will leverage JD.com’s nationwide brand and reputation for authenticity in the e-commerce space to give China’s entrepreneurs access to a broad set of potential early-stage investors. The new platform will provide a unique range of training and support options for companies throughout the entire start-up lifecycle, giving entrepreneurs a greater chance at success.
“The launch of JD Equity Crowdfunding marks a major step forward in JD.com’s vision of providing a wider range of fundraising options than have traditionally been available to China’s entrepreneurs,” said Shengqiang Chen, CEO of JD Finance. “We are dedicated to developing an ecosystem that ensures China’s most innovative entrepreneurs have access to the support they need for success, from early fundraising and training, to an outstanding national e-commerce distribution network.”
The JD.com initiatives, anchored by JD Equity Crowdfunding, will help to create an ecosystem supporting start-ups from the funding through the online sales stages of development. In addition to capital through crowdfunding, companies will have access new training courses provided by JD.com and seasoned investors and entrepreneurs, as well as to the company’s broader Internet financing tools. In addition, they will be able to sell their products through the company’s e-commerce platform, leveraging JD.com’s last-mile delivery network and reputation for trust and reliability.
The company today also announced the first 11 companies to raise funds on the JD Equity Crowdfunding platform. Among these projects, three were featured at the launch event, including Thunderobot, Fastwheel and WeBuzz, which focus on the areas of gaming laptops, personal transportation devices and social media, respectively.
Under the JD Equity Crowdfunding model, each investment project will be led by a professional investment manager, from either a venture capital (VC) firm or from a company with similar experience, who will be responsible for working directly with the investee companies and ensuring clear and transparent communications with investors. Participating VCs who will help develop JD.com’s ecosystem for start-up companies include Capital Today, ZhenFund and Sequoia Capital. As part of the program, JD.com will take a small equity stake in the projects that successfully raise funding through JD Equity Crowdfunding.
JD Equity Crowdfunding will join JD.com’s reward-based crowdfunding platform, which launched in July 2014 and has so far helped start-ups raise more than RMB280 million. More than 90% of JD Crowdfunding projects have successfully reached their fundraising goals. Among the successful projects are 69 with a target of RMB1 million and another seven with a target of RMB10 million. JD is now the largest crowdfunding platform in China, according to the release, contributing about a third of all money raised through crowdfunding in the country. Data published by the China Banking Association indicates a “surge” in internet banking, reported Crowdfund Insider’s JD Alois. According to a report in ECNS, individuals using online banking services has hit 909 million – an increase of 150 million compared to the year prior.
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