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Chinese investors go nuts pour another USD 4.7M into snack food startup


Yang Li

Three Squirrels, the largest supplier of snack food on Tmall and Taobao, has raised RMB 30 million (USD 4.7 million) in a series D funding, NetEase reported last week.

Its sole investor, FreesFund, is a newly funded capital firm founded by former partner of IDG Capital Partners, Li Feng. After financing, Three Squirrels is now valued at RMB four billion (USD 628 million).

“We have become a big company imperceptibly quick,” said the company’s founder Zhang Liaoyuan.

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Founded in June 2012, Anhui based e-commerce company, Three Squirrels, has carved out a niche for itself with nut selling in China. The company dedicates itself to supplying fresh, and comparatively cheap nuts in stylish packages, which include handy tools which help with opening the nuts.

On November 11 (China’s ‘Singles Day’ sales event) on Taobao last year, the company gained RMB 100 million (USD 15 million) by selling seven million packs of nuts, the company claimed. The most searched for items on its platform include macadamia nuts, pine nuts, and pork jerky.

Last March, the company completed a C-series financing round receiving a total of RMB 120 million (USD 18 million) from IDG Capital Partners and Capital Today, two of the leading private equity firms operating in China. The two capital firms also invested in Three Squirrels in 2013 with USD six million for its B round funding.

The company has crafted out a branding strategy using three animated squirrels and cute imagery with large advertisements on China’s “Youtube”, Youku.

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