China VC Weekly: Autonomous Driving Momentum

In last week’s VC news, online medical platform Dingdang Health raises $220 million to expand its O2O strategy, lidar-maker Hesai closes a considerable Series D followed by a hefty Series C round raised by autonomous driving chip-maker Horizon robotics, while Tencent invests in a German online brokerage.

Online medical platform Dingdang Health bags $220 million in latest round

Chinese online-to-offline (O2O) medical platform Dingdang Health has raised $220 million in its latest financing round led by TPG Capital Asia, according to a company announcement made on Tuesday.

The funding round was co-led by New York-based healthcare investment firm OrbiMed and China-focused private equity fund Redview Capital. Other investors that participated in the funding round included Valliance, Orchid Asia affiliate Travis Global, Summer Capital and Yingke PE.

Dingdang plans to use the fresh funds to expand its O2O strategy to cover services including medical care, medicine delivery and medical insurance.

“Riding on the new trend of online medical care and medication services amid Covid-19, we aim at providing all-encompassing online services catering to various needs including consultation, drug purchase, chronic disease management and psychological consultation through product upgrades and technological innovation,” said the firm’s founder and chairman Yang Wenlong in a press release.

About Dingdang Health

Established in 2014, Dingdang Health, known as Dingdang Kuaiyao in Chinese, guarantees it can deliver over-the-counter medication to customers within 28 minutes. It currently operates in 10 provinces and cities across China in addition to providing online medical consultation and chronic diseases management services.

SEE ALSO: Chinese E-pharma Platform Dingdang Health Raises $220 Million to Expand O2O Strategy

Lidar-maker Hesai completes $300 million Series D

Shanghai-based lidar maker Hesai just raised over $300 million in a Series D funding round led by GL Ventures, the venture capital arm of the prominent private equity firm Hillhouse Capital. Other investors in the round include smartphone-maker Xiaomi, on-demand services giant Meituan and CPE.

Additionally, the round was also joined by Huatai International Private Equity Fund, the USD investment arm of Huatai Securities, Lightspeed China Partners and Lightspeed Venture Capital, as well as Qiming Venture Partners. Bosch, Baidu and ON Semiconductor are also among its shareholders.

Hesai said the proceeds of the fundraising will be spent on mass-producing its hybrid solid-state lidar for OEM customers, the construction of its smart manufacturing center, and research and development on automotive-grade lidar chips. The company also said that it has accumulated “several hundred million dollars” in funding to date.

About Hesai

Founded in 2014 with an overseas office in Palo Alto, Hesai boasts a staff of over 500 employees. The company claims that its clients span 70 cities across 23 countries. The company touts Nuro, Bosch, Lyft, Navya and Chinese robotaxi operators Baidu, WeRide and AutoX among its customers. Last year, it kickstarted a partnership with Scale AI, a data-labeling company, to launch an open-source data set for autonomous driving algorithms, with data collected using Hesai’s lidar in California.

Tencent leads investment round in German online brokerage Scalable Capital

German online brokerage Scalable Capital said on Tuesday it has raised 150 million euros ($183 million) from a group of investors led by China’s Tencent (0700.HK).

The funding round, backed by existing investors including fund manager BlackRock Inc, values Scalable Capital at $1.4 billion and comes just after a $900 million raised by rival online broker Trade Republic.

Scalable Capital plans to invest the proceeds in developing its brokerage and wealth management businesses as it sets its sights on becoming Europe’s leading online investment platform, its co-CEO and co-founder, Erik Podzuweit, told Reuters.

About Scalable Capital

Active since 2016, Scalable Capital has more than $5 billion in assets under management, offering exchange-traded funds for investors and flat-rate subscriptions of 2.99 euros a month for day traders.

Autonomous driving chip powerhouse Horizon Robotics rakes in $1.5 billion ahead of planned IPO

Beijing-based autonomous vehicle chip-maker Horizon Robotics closed a Series C financing round worth $1.5 billion. The latest round values the company at $5 billion. The startup has so far received backing from as many as 35 investors, with notable names like Intel Capital, Hillhouse Capital, and Yunfeng Capital backing the company’s plans for a $1 billion IPO in New York that could be completed by the end of 2021.

This year, Horizon expects to release the Journey 5, its latest chip which can support L4 autonomous driving, whereby the car is fully autonomous in some scenarios, but still requires a human driver in certain challenging situations.

As a leader in intelligent automotive chip production, Horizon Robotics has benefited from strong investment momentum within the sector. A slew of other industry players has recently raised sizable funding rounds, including Didi’s autonomous driving unit that bagged $300 million from GAC Group earlier in June, or the aforementioned Hesai Technology, which produces lidar and other 3D sensors.

About Horizon Robotics

Horizon Robotics is the first Chinese company to mass-produce robotics chips for the auto industry, according to the startup’s founder Yu Kai. Since 2018, the company has been rolling out its Journey 2 and Journey 3 automotive chips.