Highland backs Chinese media company

The $10m funding round will be used to augment Viva’s team, improve its mobile media platform and develop new products.

US venture firm Highland Capital Partners has led a $10 million Series A funding for an undisclosed stake in Chinese mobile media company Viva.

French venture firm Ventech and Edward Suning Tian, founder and former chief executive of Chinanet.com, a Chinese internet service, also participated in the round.

Founded in 2006, Viva provides mobile services such as mobile TV and mobile magazines across China.
The funding will be used to expand Viva’s team, enhance its content platform and offer new products to the 600 million mobile media users in the country, Chuan Thor, a Highland managing director, said in an interview.

“We have been looking at this space for the past three to four years. There are definitely interesting deals in the pipeline,” added Thor.

In September 2008, Highland expanded its investment team in Shanghai by hiring John Hsin and Kuantai Yeh as managing directors. Both were from Intel Capital China, the semiconductor giant’s venture arm. Highland has made direct investments in China since 2006.

Set up in 1988, the firm invests in seed, early and growth stage companies in the communications, consumer, digital media, healthcare and information technology sectors. It manages $3 billion across eight funds.

Ventech invests in start up companies in the IT and biotechnology sectors, primarily in France. It currenly manages €325 million ($423 million) across three funds.