China VC Weekly: Chips, Cars and Robots
In last week’s VC news, several prominent chip makers raised considerable funds, toy robot maker Robosen bagged nearly $100 million and more.
Bonray Rakes in Millions in Series D Financing
Xi’An Bonray Integrated Information Electronics Co., Ltd. (Bonray), announced that it had completed a round D financing totaling several hundred million yuan. This round was jointly completed by many new shareholders including Shenzhen Guozhong Venture Capital Management, Shenzhen Capital Group and Hunan HI-Tech Venture Capital, along with several previous shareholders.
According to Bonray, the funds will be used for the R&D of core technologies, high-end talent recruitment, market expansion and high-level production line construction.
Founded in 2013, Bonray is a controllable core chip and special communications equipment provider, focusing on the R&D, production and sales of core chips and system modules in the fields of communication, radar and avionics.
Database Software Provider SphereEx Completes Pre-A Round of Financing of Nearly $10 Million
SphereEx, an innovative basic database software provider, announced the completion of its Pre-A round of financing worth nearly $10 million. The leading investor was Vision Knight Capital, co-investors were Sequoia China Seed Fund, Chuxin Capital Partners Ltd., and Index Capital. Index Capital also acted as the exclusive financial adviser to the deal. The funds are marked mainly for product R&D and commercial verification.
In the future, SphereEx will continue to strengthen the construction of the open-source community, increase its investment in technology R&D, and gradually explore overseas markets to further accelerate commercialization on a global scale.
SphereEx was founded in April 2021 by core members of Apache Sharding Sphere. All its core members are from leading internet companies or major basic software providers. All have vast experience in basic software architecture, research and development, implementation, delivery and marketization.
Aiways Bags New Round of Financing Worth Several Hundred Million Dollars
Chinese EV startup Aiways Automobile received a new round of financing from Chen Xuanlin and Dongbai Industrial Group (owned by Chen), with a total financing amount reaching several hundred million US dollars.
Since the end of 2017, Chen Xuanlin has participated in several rounds of financing for Aiways. At present, the new shareholders have sent some staff to Aiways.
According to the latest information on Aiways’s official website, the core senior management team has changed, with founder Fu Qiang continuing to serve as president, Chen Xuanlin as chairman and Zhang Yang as CEO.
Aiways was established in February 2017, and its R&D headquarters are located in Jiading district, Shanghai. Gu Feng, the cofounder of Aiways, used to be the CFO of SAIC, and his vision was to create a “Tesla of China.” However, due to the persistence of the epidemic and insufficient brand influence, the development of Aiways has encountered trouble.
Xiaomi Invests in Semiconductor Chip Developer Shanghai GTA Semiconductor
Chinese commercial inquiry platform Tianyancha showed that Shanghai GTA Semiconductor Co., Ltd. carried out a change in registration with the country’s Industrial and Commercial Administration on December 31, 2021, adding Xiaomi and other firms as shareholders. With these developments, the registered capital of the company increased from 4 billion yuan (about $627 million) to 9.321 billion yuan.
Among them, the newly added shareholders include Hubei Xiaomi Yangtze River Industry Fund Partnership Enterprise (L.P.), China Internet Investment Fund (L.P.), China State-owned Enterprise Structural Reform Fund Co., Ltd., Shanghai Pudong Haiwang Private Fund Management Co., Ltd. (L.P.), Shenzhen Inovance Tech, and others.
About Shanghai GTA Semiconductor
Shanghai GTA Semiconductor was established in November 2017 and its legal representative is Chen Zhongguo. The company’s business scope includes integrated circuit chip design and services, integrated circuit chip manufacturing, and more.
Parametrix.ai Completes Round B of Financing, Led by Sequoia China
Chinese AI company Parametrix.ai announced it had completed round-B financing totaling $100 million led by Sequoia China and followed by Parametrix.ai’s existing shareholders, 5Y Capital and Gaorong Capital. At present, the company’s valuation has reached the benchmark to qualify as a unicorn firm.
After this round of financing, Parametrix.ai will continue to increase its investment in cutting-edge technology, foreign cooperation and innovative products according to its L1-L4 evolution route, continuing to create a virtual world explored by both human beings and AI.
Parametrix.ai was established in early 2019 and is committed to changing the production model of game content through AI technology.
Standard Robots Completes Pre-C Round of Financing Worth Several Hundred Million Yuan, Past Shareholder Source Code Capital Joins Investment
Chinese industrial flexible logistics services provider Standard Robots recently completed a Pre-C round of financing totaling several hundred million yuan, led by Broad Vision Funds and followed by NIO Capital. Its existing shareholders Source Code Capital and Miracle Plus continued to participate in the investment. It should be noted that Source Code Capital was a joint leading investor in the firm’s B-round financing.
The funds are to be used mainly for new product R&D of autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), profound industry exploration, talent introduction and global market expansion.
About Standard Robots
Founded in 2016 and headquartered in China, Standard Robots focuses on AMRs R&D and manufacturing, while applying broad and self-developed technologies from basic positioning algorithms and operation systems to the core controller.
Chip Developer Micro Creative Wins Round-B Financing of Over $15.7 Million Yuan
Zhuhai Micro Creative announced that it has completed round-B financing, garnering over 100 million yuan ($15.7 million). This round was led by SummitView Capital, followed by Shunwei Capital, and previous shareholders such as Flyfot Ventures continued to participate. This round of funds will mainly be used for the mass production and promotion of security millimeter wave imaging chips and the development of its next generation automotive millimeter wave radar chips.
In February this year, Micro Creative completed an A round of financing of tens of millions of yuan, which was led by Flyfot Ventures, followed by investors including Platinum Venture Capital and Baidu Ventures.
About Micro Creative
Founded in March 2017, Micro Creative is a leading designer and manufacturer of CMOS millimeter wave/terahertz chips and radar modules in China. Its main application fields include internet of things, security and automotive parts.
Auto-Level MCU Chip Developer Yuntu Semiconductor Wraps Up Round-A Financing Totaling $15.7 Million
Suzhou Yuntu Semiconductor Co., Ltd. announced that it has completed round-A financing of 100 million yuan ($15.7 million). The investors in this round include New Alliance Capital, Shenzhen Inovance Tech and Sunic Capital. Its previous investor Xiaomi Yangtze River Industry Fund Partnership Enterprise also participated.
This round of funds will be used to invest in the R&D and marketing of auto-level chips, including ASIL-D safety products that are applied to automobile electric drive and domain controller.
About Yuntu Semiconductor
Yuntu Semiconductor, established in July 2020, is an automobile chip fabless company. Its core team has nearly 20 years of experience in designing automobile chips. It took only 15 months to complete the R&D and tape-out of four automobile chip, proving the firm’s technical strength to its customers with high-quality products.
Autonomous Delivery Company Rino.ai Raises Over $7 Million in Pre A+ Round of Financing
Rino.ai, an unmanned delivery company, announced that it had completed a Pre A + round of financing and raised 50 million yuan ($7.84 million) in the deal. Investors in this round include Seekdource, Chang’an Capital and Costone Capital. Previous shareholder Linear Capital also joined the investment round while Yuanyi Capital acted as the exclusive financial consultant.
The funds raised in this round will be used for two main purposes: one is to implement unmanned delivery operations in more cities and expand the company’s fleet size. The other is to increase investment in technology R&D to adapt to more open road situations. Zhu Lei, CEO of Rino.ai, said, “Our goal is to realize the daily operation of 5,000 unmanned vehicles on open roads within five years starting in 2022.”
Founded in April 2019, Rino.ai is a company dedicated to developing unmanned distribution solutions and providing normal operations of unmanned vehicles. In 2020, Rino.ai officially launched commercial operations for supermarket deliveries. At present, the company’s unmanned delivery fleet has been tested and operated in Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Shenzhen and other cities. The current daily operation of the company’s fleet is still in the low double digits.
Fashion Phone Case Brand MakerMaker Secures Tens of Millions of Yuan in Round-A Financing
MakerMaker, a fashion phone case brand, announced its completion of round-A financing in which it secured tens of millions of yuan, with Xiaomi and Shunwei Capital serving as investors. The funds raised in this round will be mainly used for the production of “MakerMaker Smartphone Case DIY Machine.”
Since December 2019, the smartphone case DIY machines developed by MakerMaker have been put into use in Beijing, and its users are mainly aged 15-25. Consumers can choose their own photos or use the AI templates provided by MakerMaker to create phone case designs. People can also directly purchase the co-branded smartphone cases. Currently, MakerMaker has been running hundreds of smart DIY machines in China.
Launched in December 2019, MakerMaker mostly targets young consumers aged 15-25 via their automated smartphone case making machines.
AR Optical Waveguide Module Supplier Lochn Optics Completes Round-C Financing
Lochn Optics, an AR optical waveguide modules supplier, announced that it had completed round-C financing totaling over 100 million yuan ($15.69 million). This round of financing was led by Huaqiang Capital and followed by Everest VC, Haojun Capital, Guichanqing and other institutions, with Lonchn’s existing shareholder Junsan Investment continuing its investment.
About Lochn Optics
Founded in 2014, Lochn Optics is the first optical waveguide modules supplier in China to develop the whole product series of array, grating and volume holographic optical waveguide and self-developed unique optical waveguide design software. Its products are widely used in policing, fire protection, industry, cultural tourism, education, consumption and other fields.
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Consumer Robot Brand Robosen Secures Nearly $100 Million in Round B and Round B+ Financing
Consumer-grade robot brand Robosen has recently completed a B+ round of financing, which was led by Cedarlake Capital, followed by Rencent Capital and Lightspeed China Partners. Meanwhile, Sequoia Capital, Dayone Capital, Gengxin Capital and other investment corporations continued to pursue investment. Among them, Gengxin Capital served as the long-term exclusive financial adviser.
Robosen completed a round B of financing in June this year, wrapping up two rounds of financing in less than half a year, totaling nearly $100 million.
The Robosen team consists of scientists, geeks, product enthusiasts and creators from mechanical, electronic, computer, information science, automation and internet backgrounds. At present, company’s amount of employee in R&D team accounts for 70%. Robosen believes that the mainstream robots in the world are mainly wheeled, quadruped and biped, among which humanoid biped technology is the most difficult technical type among the three forms.Recently, Robosen and Hasbro of the United States launched Robosen’s flagship version of Optimus Prime, the result of 12 years of R&D, from project establishment to product listing.
ZTO Freight Completes B Round of Financing Worth Over $300 Million
ZTO Freight announced that it had completed a B round of financing exceeding $300 million. The fresh funds will be used to increase investment in information system R&D, new infrastructure construction and professional talent.
Previously, ZTO Freight completed round A and round A+ financing in June 2018 and May 2020, respectively, with a total investment exceeding $100 million.
About ZTO Freight
Founded in 2016, ZTO Freight is a fast express unit under ZTO, providing one-stop logistics services for enterprises and individual customers. As of July 2021, the company has more than 13,000 service outlets, 72 distribution centers and more than 3,200 self-owned transport vehicles, with a daily capacity of 45,000 tons. During the annual promotional shopping period “Double Eleven” this year, the freight volume of ZTO Freight exceeded 340,000 tons, up 24.5% year-on-year.
Leading Intelligent Lighting Company Yeelight Completes Round E Financing of 300 Million Yuan
Yeelight, an intelligent lighting company, announced the completion of round E financing worth 300 million yuan (about $47.1 million). The investors of this round include Light Control Industry Fund, Huatai Securities, New Kinetic Energy Capital, Qingdao Fund of Funds, Huaying Cci Capital and Yichen Investment.
Funds raised in this round of financing will be used for channel expansion in both domestic and overseas markets, intelligent product R&D, supply chain layout and team recruitment and expansion, so as to further consolidate the company’s position as a leader in the intelligent lighting industry.
Established in 2012, Yeelight now possesses more than 500 workers and is headquartered in Qingdao. The company has a number of branches and subsidiaries in Shenzhen, Shanghai, Hong Kong and other locations, to achieve better coverage all over the world.
Industrial Mobile Robot Firm Youibot Robotics Wins Financing of Over $47 Million
Youibot Robotics, a Chinese industrial mobile robot company, announced that it has recently completed Series B financing, with a total amount exceeding 300 million yuan ($47 million). The two rounds in the series were led by FG Venture and Xicheng Jinrui, respectively, followed by shareholders including IDG, Green Pine Capital Partners, SIG and BlueRun Ventures. Its early investment has attracted institutions including Zhen Fund and C&I Capital.
As a leading provider of mobile robot solutions in China, Youibot Robotics is deeply involved in precision electronic manufacturing and energy industries based on industrial logistics and intelligent management. The company has maintained its market advantage in the fields of semiconductors and power plants