Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund invests in China’s co-working space start-up 5Lmeet
Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC has shown an interest in China’s burgeoning co-working space sector by joining a 100 million yuan (US$14.55 million) fundraising for a start-up founded by real estate mogul Mao Daqing.
5Lmeet, a space-sharing start-up co-founded by former China Vanke vice-chairman Mao Daqing in December 2015, announced on Monday that it has completed fresh fundraising of nearly 100 million yuan that valued the company at three billion yuan. GIC led the investment along with Kaifeng Culture Tourism Investment Group, a Chinese local government industry fund.
The funding came just three months after its Series-A fundraising in October. At that time it raised more than 400 million yuan from 14 investors that included Junzi Capital, Jinyun Electrical and Northern Light Venture Capital.
Sun Jianjun, a managing director and GIC’s China real estate business head, said in a press release that GIC made the investment because it is “upbeat” on China’s urban renewal, co-work space and real estate sector innovation.
“In mega cities like Beijing and Shanghai, innovative urban space like 5Lmeet that integrate office, living, leisure and social interaction, have long-term growth potential,” Sun said.
5Lmeet was founded by Mao, Sequoia Capital China, Zhen Fund, China Equity and Gopher Asset, aiming to create shared space for urban dwellers to co-work, co-live, co-play, co-educate, co-eat and beyond.
The five “Ls” of 5Lmeet stand for liveable, linked, liberal, lively, and landscape.
Zhuang Yating, a co-founder, said she wants to bring work and lifestyle together under one roof and build a community of like-minded urban residents.
The company has already opened a store in central Beijing, with another four planned in the city this year. Branches in Shanghai and Henan are also planned. Kaifeng Culture Tourism is based in Henan.
Mao also runs co-working space start-up URWork, which was valued at US$1.02 billion after a fund raising in January.
URWork also boasts a Singaporean connection: In early December, it signed an agreement with International Enterprise Singapore and Singapore’s largest real estate developer, CapitaLand, hoping to help small Chinese and Singaporean firms enter the global market.
The partnership also provides URWork with access to space, thanks to CapitaLand’s network of 65 malls across China.
Asked if there is any competition between URWork and 5Lmeet, a spokeswoman for 5Lmeet told the South China Morning Post that 5Lmeet focused on 24-hour living and lifestyle services, while URWork’s focus was on eight-hour work periods.
However, the two start-ups are joining a field of aggressive competitors backed by private equity and venture capital giants.
These include Hony Capital-backed WeWork, which plans to open in at least three locations in Beijing with the first coming in May, its chairman told the Post in a recent interview.
Prometheus Capital, another private equity fund founded by Wang Sicong – the son of China’s richest man, Wang Jianlin – and backed by IDG Capital Partners, has invested in Kr Space.