Fidelity backs online manufacturing marketplace

Fidelity’s US and Asian venture teams have jointly led a $26 million Series D financing round for MFG.com, an online marketplace whose users include NASA.

Fidelity Ventures and Fidelity Asia Ventures have for the first time both invested in the same deal, having co-led a $26 million (€18 million) financing round in online marketplace MFG.com.

“It’s certainly a first in recent memory,” Larry Chang, Fidelity Ventures partner, told PEO. “It’s actually the US, Europe and Asia [teams] working together and it’s because the company was founded in Atlanta, they acquired a company in Geneva, which was the basis for their European operations, and they launched organically in China.”

He added: “All three geographies are growing extraordinarily well, and I think part of the attraction for MFG.com partnering with us is we have the resources and experience globally to understand what they’re doing. We were on the ground in Geneva, Atlanta and Shanghai within the span of a day or two as we decided to ramp up on this opportunity, and that’s sort of a rare attribute for our firm.”

Though Fidelity’s various venture teams will interact with one another very frequently on deals, Chang said, they don’t all participate in them in the way they did for MFG.com.

Existing investor European Founders Fund also participated in the round, though another significant backer, Bezos Expeditions, did not. Bezos Expeditions, the private investment arm of Amazon.com founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos, led at least one previous funding round of an undisclosed size; according to a prior report in the Atlanta Business Chronicle, the firm owns a 40 percent stake in MFG.com.

The website is a means for buyers and sellers of manufactured parts to connect, and its users include large organisations like NASA.

It is an alluring sector in which to invest, Chang said. “If you look around where you are right now, everything is probably manufactured in some way. And just think about all the thousands of different parts that exist within your own work space.”

The online marketplace sector is one in which Fidelity has previously invested several times. Its “landmark” deal, Chang said, was when the Asian team backed Alibaba, a Chinese business-to-business marketplace that recently went public with a $25 billion market cap.