Foxconn-backed HCM in talks on new larger tech fund

Nov 5 (Reuters) - Foxconn Technology Group-backed investment firm HCM Capital is in early-stage talks to raise a much larger new fund, as it looks to invest in startups in Silicon Valley and other emerging tech hubs across the world, the fund’s head said.

In an interview with Reuters, HCM founder and managing partner Jack Lee said he could not yet specify the size of the new fund that it plans to raise, but said it could be a “hundred million more or up to several hundred” million more than HCM’s previous fund which invested in a number of blockchain and other tech startups.

Taking foreign exchange rates into account, the previous fund had capital for investment of $60 million to $70 million, Lee said.

Lee said the launch date for the new fund should be decided by the end of the year. The new fund will also focus on backing blockchain startups and other futuristic tech ventures.

Foxconn Technology, a unit of the world’s largest contract electronics manufacturer Hon Hai Precision Industry, is one of the investors in giant Japanese firm SoftBank’s $100-billion Vision Fund.

“I feel (SoftBank) Vision Fund’s focus is more on existing and a bit older economy, such as real estate (WeWork, internet-based rides hailing apps) ... while we have been promoting the decentralized digital economy powered by blockchain for years,” Lee said.

SoftBank has said that Foxconn is among a number of major tech investors to have signed commitments to invest in a second Vision Fund, whose future has been questioned since the souring of the Japanese firm’s $18.5-billion investment in WeWork.

Lee, who was managing director of the business unit, Foxconn Financial Service Platform, before launching HCM Capital in 2015, declined to comment on any discussions with SoftBank. (Reporting by Anirban Sen in Bangalore; additional reporting by Yimou Lee in Taipei, editing by Bernard Orr)