The long list of Asian megacompanies investing in U.S.-based tech startups just got longer.
Chinese security giant Qihoo 360 Technology Co. has established a venture investing group in Silicon Valley to bankroll strategically significant startups, VentureWire has learned.
“We find a company we like, we try to partner and become strategic investors,” Qihoo 360 Director of Strategic Initiatives Mike Liao said.
Like Chinese Internet company Tencent Holdings, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and a half dozen similarly large Asian companies that launched investing arms this spring, Qihoo 360 is seeking technology from startups to bolster its own offerings and reach new users.
The Qihoo venture fund has no set size, but with a $10.8 billion market cap and earnings of $0.54 per share last quarter, it is hardly cash constrained. Mr. Liao says he invests in startups when he finds ones that can enhance his company’s mission to provide digital security.
“We think about security in the larger sense. Where are your kids? Is the garage door open? We think about where the Internet is going to be a few years from now,” he said.
Since moving to the U.S. and establishing an office in Palo Alto, Calif., nine months ago, Mr. Liao has invested in eyeball biometrics company EyeVerify LLC. and four unnamed companies developing products for big data, smart hardware and family safety apps.
Qihoo, unlike most of its counterparts to establish funds, has experience with VCs.
The company scooped up several small rounds of funding from Highland Capital Partners, Sequoia Capital China, Trustbridge Partners, Redpoint Ventures and others in 2006 before going public five years later.
“In the end, we are strategic investors. We are not in this for the financial returns,” Mr. Liao said.