Hong Kong startup Prenetics raises US$40M to use DNA testing for a healthier life

Kevin McSpadden
Hong Kong startup Prenetics raises US$40M to use DNA testing for a healthier life

The investment was led by Beyond Ventures and Alibaba’s Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund

Prenetics, a Hong Kong-based startup that is using genetic testing to help people identify health risks, has raised US$40 million from Beyond Ventures and the Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund.

Other participants include eGarden Ventures (the parent company of Beyond Ventures), mFund and Yuantai Investment Partners. They will join Ping An Ventures, Venturra Capital and RE.A.PRA.

The company has raised over US$50 million in total and the latest ground will be used to “build infrastructure
designed to modernise health care”. This means building a big data analytics system, integrate machine learning and AI as well as continuing R&D. The company will also boost its hiring, explore M&As and expand across Southeast Asia and China.

“The significance of being able to build a DNA-digital blueprint of a human is almost incomprehensible. Out of all advances in technology, this opportunity may give millions of people the power to take control of their health,” said Danny Yeung, the CEO of Prenetics, in a statement.

How does Prenetics work?

For consumers, Prenetics most interesting product is a DNA sequencing technology that helps people understand their risk to hereditary cancers. They also have a family-prep DNA screening for people trying to have kids.

Prenetics also has built an app so people can check out their predispositions to Type 2 Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, and High Cholesterol.

The startup also has a B2B play. It has partnered with major corporate insurance companies like Prudential, AIA, HSBC Insurance and Muang Thai Life to help filter ‘positive lifestyle’ information to their customers. For example, it has a digital coaching app that provides people with a DNA profile that helps them adjust their diet.

Also Read: Lalamove raises US$100M Series C funding round led by Xiaomi founder’s ShunWei Capital

Prenetics is a Hong Kong company but has a significant presence in Southeast Asia. The team is more than 100 people and its core markets outside of The Pearl is Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.

Interesting investors

Beyond Ventures and the Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund are linked by one fact: they are both built on a one hundred per cent focus on the Hong Kong market.

Beyond Ventures is a fund build by eGarden Ventures and it is the only VC fund to focus entirely on the city. Its parent company, eGarden Ventures, has a broader regional focus but likes to invest in companies in thetechnology, media and teleco sphere.

The Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund is a corporate initiative to help the e-commerce giant get itself into the Hong Kong startup scene. Just a couple of weeks ago, it invested  US$10 million into six startups in the city. Since its launch in 2015, the fund has invested US$20 million into Hong Kong startups (although that number is just the public figure; e27 does no know how much it invested in the Prenatics round).

Also Read: Online investment platform CapBridge raises US$2.9M from SGX, Tim Draper

While the ecosystem as a whole is considered to be behind its regional neighbours, Hong Kong has produced some of the larger rounds of 2017. Last week, Lalamove raised a massive US$100 million investment and this Prenatics funding would qualify as one of the bigger rounds in Asia outside of mainland China.

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