LeTV Sports snags US$128M in Series A led by Alibaba’s Jack Ma, Wanda’s Wang Jianlin

LeTV Sports, an affiliate of Chinese online video platform and smart TV producer LeTV, announced that it has secured US$128 million in a Series A round, according to Technode. With this investment, the company is now valued at US$451 million.

The round was led by Alibaba Founder and CEO Jack Ma and Wanda Group Chairman Wang Jianlin, both of whom invested in the company through their private venture funds, Yunfeng Capital and Wanda Investment, respectively.

Also in participation were Fortune Link, Prometheus Capital and other investors.

Originating from online TV site LeTV.com, LeTV Sports is a separate video portal that streams live sports events. The company claims that yearly, the site streams 4000 matches from 12 different sports categories such a football, basketball, tennis, golf and marathons.

This investment is also the latest in a string of deals made by Alibaba in both the media and sports arena.

Facial recognition tech startup Face ++ raises US$25M Series B

Face ++, a Beijing-based facial recognition company, has announced raising a US$25 million Series B plus round led by undisclosed investors, according to Chinese media.

The company has conducted two other funding rounds prior to this. In 2013, it raised an undisclosed amount of several million US dollars in a Series A round led by Idea Bulb Ventures.

Later in 2014, the company completed a US$22 million Series B round led Qiming Venture Partners and Innovation Works.

Launched in 2012, Face++’s develops applications that recognise and detect faces in real-time via cloud-based APIs and SDKs, allowing users to integrate their software into their personal devices.

The company’s software was demonstrated live by Alibaba Founder and CEO Jack Ma during a session at IT and Digital Business expo CeBIT 2015. Alibaba’s e-payment platform Alipay is venturing into using face recognition tech as a security feature.

Paidy secures US$8.3M in Series A round

Paidy, a Tokyo-based cardless e-commerce payment platform, announced that it has raised US$8.3 million in a Series A round.

The round was led by existing investor Arbor Ventures and new investors SIG Asia and MS Capital.

As part of the deal, SIG China’s Managing Director Tim Gong will join the board of directors.

The funding will be used to accelerate product development and expand the team.

Paidy was launched in 2014 by Tokyo-based Exchange Corporation, which builds financial service platforms for Japan and Asia.

Paidy allows its users to pay for products purchased online using just their mobile phone number and email address, and does not require a credit card or pre-registration.

E-commerce marketplace IndianRoots gets US$5M

IndianRoots, an e-commerce venture run by NDTV Ethnic Retail Ltd (a subsidiary of leading broadcaster NDTV), has raised US$5 million in fresh funding from Delhi-based business group KJS, at a valuation of US$85 million.

The funds will be used to scale up the portal’s logistics and delivery mechanisms, and expand its marketing activity.

Launched in mid-2013, IndianRoots showcases over 100 designers and 700-plus brands on its curated online marketplace. It has a worldwide customer base with India and the US being the largest markets.

NDTV Ethnic had achieved gross merchandise values (GMV) of INR 61 crore (US$10 million) in the year ending March 31, 2015, a 12X jump over its previous year.

Singapore’s Alpha7 nabs US$2.3M from private investors

Alpha7, a Singapore-based technology consultancy, today announced raising an additional US$2.3 million, on top of its seed funding round of US$377,000 earlier this year.

The funding will be used for expansion and driving product development. The startup wants to enter Australia in the later half of 2015.

Launched in 2014, Alpha7 helps businesses outsource COO duties such as the implementation of CRM software, HR, marketing, inventory management and so on to allow companies to focus on other aspects of their business.

The startup also announced the launch of iMap,a proprietary business intelligence tool which enables business owners to generate a roadmap for growth through analysing front- and back-end data, then providing recommendations to deliver productivity and growth.

Note from the editor: We are trying an all-in-one news format in hopes of being more efficient. We take keen interest in stories spun out of funding announcements and will be focussing more on profiles and features on the above startups and investors.

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