Lightspeed China closes debut fund

In the midst of a tough fundraising climate, the new fund manager closed its maiden venture fund on $168 million.

Lightspeed China Partners (LCP) has announced the closing of its maiden fund for China, Lightspeed China Partners I, on $168 million, above the fund’s original target of $150 million, according to a firm statement. The fund was launched last year.

The fund will be dedicated exclusively to investing in China-based businesses in the new technology sectors – especially Internet and mobile services companies in the early growth stage.

LCP has already completed a number of investments from Lightspeed China Partners I, including Meilele, China’s largest online retailer of self-branded furniture; Rong360, an Internet-based financial services search engine; and Tujia.com, an online vacation rental service provider, according to the statement.

Although a separate firm, LCP maintains a relationship with Menlo Park, CA-based Lightspeed Venture Partners and leverages the global firm’s resources to help its China portfolio expand internationally.

Prior to forming LCP, managing directors Ron Cao and James Mi – who will oversee the new fund – were managing directors at Lightspeed Venture Partners, managing the firm’s prior investments in China.

“While this is our first fund as Lightspeed China Partners, our team has been actively investing here in China for the past seven years,” Cao said in the statement. “We will continue to focus on early-stage opportunities in areas where we can be strong value-added partners.”

Fundraising in China has been difficult this past year. Venture fundraising for 2012 totaled only $9.3 billion across 252 funds, about one-third of the $28.2 billion raised in 2011 across 382 funds, according to figures from Zero2IPO, PEI reported earlier.