PatSnap snips Asia-Pac tech slump with $300m round

By Eric Johansson

Innovation tracking scaleup PatSnap has netted $300m in a new funding round co-led by Tencent and SoftBank, shrugging off the trend of falling tech deal activity in the Asia-Pacific region.

The Singapore-based startup’s Series E round also benefited from a cash influx from CPE Industrial Fund and its existing investors Sequoia China, Shun Wei Capital and Vertex Ventures.

It will use the money to boost the development of its research and development (R&D) and intellectual property tracking products, as well as expanding its sales teams across the world.

Citing research published in the Harvard Business Review, PatSnap noted that there had been a 65% drop in R&D productivity over the past three decades. At the same time, money being put into R&D efforts have jumped annually. Experts estimate that $2.4tn will be injected into R&D initiatives across the globe in 2021.

PatSnap is trying to solve this discrepancy with its artificial intelligence and machine learning-powered suite of products.

The products are aimed at helping businesses analyse and connect key relationships between millions of unstructured data points across disparate data sources to deliver insights that guide R&D divisions. These insights can in turn aid organisations when developing new solutions and products.

PatSnap was founded in 2007. Since then its founder and CEO Jeffrey Tiong has grown the tech venture’s customer base to include over 10,000 organisations, including Dyson, Spotify, Oxford University Innovation and The Dow Chemical Company.

“PatSnap’s mission is to empower innovators to make the world a better place,” said Tiong. “Our global footprint, leadership, and strategic position in the innovation economy have enabled us to attract top investors, customers, and talent. Adding SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and Tencent to our notable roster of investors will help solidify PatSnap as the industry standard for innovation intelligence. Both have deep investment expertise with AI-led companies and proven track records supporting sustainable company growth.”

Beating the trend

The news comes on the back of GlobalData’s deals database recording a 25.58% drop in deal activity in the Asia-Pacific tech sector in February, compared with the last 12-month average. That includes mergers and acquisitions, private equity raises and venture financing deals.

In the second month of 2021, there were a total of 352 industry deals worth $8.93bn in the region. That’s down from the 12-month average of 473 deals. Moreover, it is also a massive drop from in September 2020 when the total value of deals was recorded as $54.53bn across 381 deals.


Read more: Tech giants in Beijing’s bad books lose $180bn in value


Verdict deals analysis methodology

This analysis considers only announced and completed deals from the GlobalData financial deals database and excludes all terminated and rumoured deals. Country and industry are defined according to the headquarters and dominant industry of the target firm. The term ‘acquisition’ refers to both completed deals and those in the bidding stage.

GlobalData tracks real-time data concerning all merger and acquisition, private equity/venture capital and asset transaction activity around the world from thousands of company websites and other reliable sources.

More in-depth reports and analysis on all reported deals are available for subscribers to GlobalData’s deals database.