China VC Weekly: Autonomous Driving, Battery Health, Drones and More

In last weeks VC news: Bain Capital bets on driver/gas station matcher Newlink, agricultural drone maker XAG raises funds for R&D, autonomous driving powerhouse Momenta bags $500 million, while battery analysis platform Fova Energy secures new funds from Shunwei Capital.

Bain Capital injects funds into China’s Newlink Group

Chinese tech company Newlink Group announced that it has secured $200 million in incremental equity financing led by Bain Capital, a leading global multi-asset alternative investment firm. Newlink’s existing investor Joy Capital also participated in the funding round. The most recent round of financing came after another round earlier this year in which the company raised $100 million, bringing the company’s total financing to $300 million so far in 2021.

Newlink’s other backers include CMBI, CICC Capital, Xiaomi Corp, NIO Capital, KIP China, SME Development Fund and Hongtai Aplus.

Newlink aims to serve the 400 million drivers in China through its two apps, “Tuanyou” and “Kuaidian”, leveraging its network of 23,000 gas stations (20% of all gas stations in China) and 700,000 charging piles (90% of all EV charging piles in China) in 1,700 cities and towns across the country.

“Newlink is committed to bridging the gap and connecting all the dots in the energy value chain. We support gas and EV charging station owners with tools that cut costs and drive sales, while at the same time provide consumers with seamless and customized fueling and charging experience,” said Zhen Dai, the founder and chairman of Newlink. He continued to say that “the strategic partnership with Bain Capital is an important step towards realizing Newlink’s ambition to transform the energy industry and build a greener society. Improved efficiency in the energy market will benefit producers, distributors and users from a cost perspective. It will also reduce carbon emissions, taking us a step further towards creating a more environmental-friendly society.”

About Newlink

Founded in 2016, Newlink is a fast-growing online technology platform that helps match drivers in China with the best gas stations and charging piles. The company’s solutions also help both gas station and electric vehicle charging station owners drive incremental sales, reduce procurement costs, manage operations and grow profits.

Agricultural drone maker XAG undergoes new round to fund R&D

Chinese manufacturer of agricultural drones and robots XAG Co. Ltd., secured 300 million yuan ($46 million) in funding amid speculations that the company might soon go public.

The investment was disclosed by GL Ventures, a venture capital fund under Chinese asset manager Hillhouse Capital Group.

Peng Bin, founder and chairman of Guangzhou-based XAG, shared with Chinese business media outlet Caixin that his company is currently valued at nearly ten billion yuan. Peng also noted that XAG will use the funding to increase investment in R&D and further develop its robotics products.

About XAG

XAG Co., Ltd., formerly known as XAircraft, is a Chinese manufacturer of agricultural drones headquartered in Guangzhou. Founded in 2007 by Peng Bin, Justin Gong and others, the company initially developed consumer drones.

Autonomous driving firm Momenta bags $500 million in Series C round

Chinese autonomous driving unicorn Momenta has completed its Series C round of financing, amassing a total of $500 million. The round was led by SAIC, Toyota, Bosch, Temasek and Yunfeng Fund. Other investors that took part in the round included Mercedes-Benz, GGV Jiyuan Capital, Shunwei Capital, Tencent and Cathay Capital.

Momenta noted that after obtaining the new financing, they will continue to focus efforts on the mass production of its data-driven “flywheel” technology, in order to promote large-scale implementation of autonomous driving. In addition, Momenta plans to further expand its overseas business and set up offices in Germany and Japan.

The investment secured by Momenta represents the highest sum amassed in a single round of financing for any Chinese autonomous driving company so far in 2021. Among the startup’s backers are a range of multinational auto industry giants from China, Japan, and Germany.

SEE ALSO: Autonomous Driving Unicorn Momenta Raises $500M From SAIC, Toyota, Bosch and Others

About Momenta

Momenta was established in September 2016. The company’s CEO Xudong Cao graduated from Tsinghua University, and has previously worked as a researcher and executive R&D director at Microsoft Research Asia and SenseTime. He is a technical expert in the field of computer vision.

Battery health analysis platform Fova Energy raises new round from Shunwei Capital

Battery data analysis and decision-making platform Fova Energy has raised millions of US dollars during its seed+ round of financing from Shunwei Capital, according to Chinese media outlet 36Kr. The funds will be mainly allocated for team extension, product development and market expansion.

In December 2020, Fova energy received a million US dollars in a seed funding round from Zhen Fund. So far, the company has completed two rounds of financing in as many months.

Fova Energy organized a team with rich experienc in the fields of energy, artificial intelligence and battery. The core members of Fova all hail from MIT, including professors in the firm’s consulting team, senior executives in the energy field and other experts.

About Fova Energy 

Founded in 2020, Fova Energy focuses on medium and long term battery health prediction. The core product of the company is an AI based management platform responsible for analyzing battery life cycle data to help deal with health risks, improve safety, and enhance the working life of batteries.