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SoftBank Group and Tencent Holdings-led $1.1-billion investment in Bengaluru-based taxi-hailing service provider Ola cabs ranks third in the global venture capital funding for the December quarter of 2017. The top of the chart is occupied by Ola cabs’ Chinese peer Didi Chuxing, which attracted $4-billion fund in December quarter from SoftBank and Mubdala Investment. Also, Sequoia and IDG Capital-led consortium invested $4 billion in Chinese e-commerce company China Internet Plus is second on the list. “2017 closed strong because of mega-round activity was a theme throughout the year,” said Anand Sanwal, co-founder and chief executive officer of CB Insights. “It was a record year for these mega-rounds, driven by what we'd describe as the SoftBank effect. This is the entry of large, deep-pocketed investors, ranging from Softbank to sovereign wealth funds, from around the globe investing in insurgent start-up companies," Sanwal said. Globally, total funding for full-year 2017 reached $164.4 billion, a 50 per cent increase over 2016, and an 11 per cent increase in deal activity according to the PWC-CB Insights Money Tree report. “We saw the highest level of financing, driven by several billion-dollar deals from Asia. The US venture capital ecosystem is also changing in terms of the mix of dollars and deals with a bigger role for mega-rounds, larger average deal size and a declining trend in the deal count,” said Tom Ciccolella, PwC's US Venture Capital Leader in a statement. Largest global deals Both deal and dollar activity, surpassed the highs seen in 2015, amid strong Asian and European investment. Funding activity surged in Asia by 117 per cent, with $70.8 billion in total investment, up from $32.7 billion in 2016 and nearly matching the US figure of $74.5 billion across 5,365 deals.
Asia deal count was up 46 per cent to 2,847.Rising funding for ventures into artificial intelligence (AI). Funding to AI topped $1 billion every quarter through 2017, says the report. Compared to 2016, total annual funding increased 28 per cent in 2017 to a total of $5 billion across 444 deals. The report also highlights slowing pace of unicorn creation in Asia as well as the US. Asia and the US each saw four companies becoming Unicorn in fourth quarter vis-à-vis five in previous one. Also the Asia seed deal size increased to a median of $1.5 million in fourth quarter from $1 million in previous one.