There are big fundraising rounds, massive fundraising rounds and incredible fundraising rounds. And then there’s raising so much money in a single shot that — overnight — a firm is worth money than Goldman Sachs. There’s no specific adjective for that type of fundraising round yet.
But it looks like we, as a people, are going to have to come up with one, because Ant Financial — the Jack Ma-owned financial subsidiary of Alibaba and home to the Alipay product — managed to rack up $14 billion in funds raised in its recent Series C round. The goal, as reported a few months ago, was to raise about $9 billion in a private funding round.
They overshot that target a bit.
With the round, the financial firm is now rocking a total valuation of $150 billion. That makes Ant far and away the most valuable privately-held tech firm in the world; sitting in the number 2 slot is Uber, which at highest estimation is worth around $70 billion (and possibly less, considering a recent funding round with Softbank valued Uber at $48 billion and a more recent round valued it at about $64 billion).
But Ant Financial is more than just the most valuable privately-held tech firm on Earth — it’s also just more valuable in general than a lot of long-established, household name financial firms like American Express (which has a market cap of $87 billion), Goldman Sachs ($88 billion), and Morgan Stanley ($92 billion.)
The Series C cash was raised in two tranches: around $3 billion denominated in renminbi, taking in existing investors, and the rest denominated in U.S. dollars.
The money will be used for international expansion and for further investment in Ant’s technology — the blockchain, Internet of Things, and AI will all get special attention.
“We are dedicated to building an open ecosystem with all our partners in China and beyond,” said CEO and executive chairman Eric Jing. “We will continue to invest in technology and innovation in order to serve unmet financial needs of people everywhere and to enable them to benefit from the development of the digital economy.”
Ant Financial’s technology was used by around 870 million people in the year up to the end of March.