China VC Weekly: Fintech and Robots
In last week’s VC news, Fintech pros from Airwallex completed a $200 million Series E round at a $4 billion valuation, Autonomous driving startup DeepRoute.ai raised roughly $300 million in a successful Series B round, artificial intelligence company Keenon Robotics garners $200 million in its Series D round, eVTOL upstart Autoflight bags a massive Series A round, while HAI ROBOTICS raised $200 million to boost its robot fleet.
Fintech unicorn Airwallex raises new round of financing worth $4 billion
Fintech powerhouse Airwallex has raised around $200 million in a Series E round of financing at a massive $4 billion valuation.
This latest investment round follows an extended Series D fundraiser in March, cementing Airwallex’s position as one of the fastest growing unicorns amid an unprecedented business environment affected by the pandemic.
The latest round was led by Lone Pine Capital. New investors, G Squared and Vetamer Capital, joined long-time investors, 1835i Ventures (formerly ANZi), DST Global, Salesforce Ventures and Sequoia Capital China, in the fundraising campaign. With the completion of Series E, Airwallex has raised more than $700 million in equity funds to date.
This round of investment capital will support Airwallex’s global expansion and enable the company to accelerate multiple product development initiatives across its five engineering hubs, grow its sales and commercial teams, and increase its breadth of offerings for SMEs and larger enterprises operating in the digital economy.
Co-founded by Zhang and Lucy Liu in Melbourne in 2015, Airwallex provides services including end-to-end payments and collection solutions for customers including China-based e-commerce retailers and companies like payroll platforms such as Papaya Global. Its other two co-founders are Xijing Dai and Max Li.
Autonomous driving firm DeepRoute.ai completes $300 million Series B round
DeepRoute.ai, an L4 autonomous driving company in China, announced on Tuesday that it had completed a B round of financing worth $300 million. This round of financing was led by Alibaba, followed by previous shareholders such as Fosun RZ Capital, Yunqi Partners and Glory Ventures, as well as industrial funds under Jeneration Capital and the investment firm under Geely.
The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) has defined 6 levels of driving automation ranging from 0 to 5. Level 4 vehicles do not require human interaction in most circumstances.
Chinese media outlet LatePost said that DeepRoute.ai, founded in February 2019, has raised about 400 million US dollars and its valuation has exceeded 1 billion US dollars.
DeepRoute.ai’s CEO, Zhou Guang, outlaid the company’s plans for the money: “This round of financing will be mainly used for the company’s R&D investment, speeding up the expansion of staff numbers as well as the scale of autonomous driving tests and operation fleets. Our company has started trial operations for our RoboTaxi in the center of Shenzhen. This year, we will also begin the application of autonomous driving in freight transportation.”
Since its establishment in early 2019, DeepRoute.ai has reached agreements with Dongfeng Motors, Cao Cao Chuxing, and Xiamen Ocean Gate Container Terminal Co., Ltd., in China, and launched automatic driving tests and demonstration operations in Shenzhen, Wuhan, Hangzhou and Xiamen.
Keenon Robotics bags $200 million in Series D round
Chinese media outlet 36Kr reported on Wednesday that Keenon Robotics Co., Ltd., has completed a D round of financing worth $200 million. This round of funding was led by Vision Fund and was followed by CICC ALPHA and Prosperity7 Ventures.
China Renaissance was the exclusive financial adviser for this deal. Up to now, this round of financing stands as the biggest commercial financing deal in the field of commercial robots in China.
Li Tong, founder and CEO of Keenon, said that this round of financing will be used to expand its R&D and supply chain advantages, enhance its overall sales and service capabilities, accelerate the company’s application in multiple scenarios, and further promote the scaling and deployment of commercial robots.
In December last year, the Shanghai-based firm announced the completion of a Round C of financing worth several hundred million yuan, with SoftBank Ventures Asia and Alibaba Group as investors. As of October 2020, its food delivery robots have ranked first in the 4.6 trillion yuan catering market, with a global market share of over 80%.
Keenon, established in 2010, is an artificial intelligence enterprise dedicated to providing intelligent unmanned distribution solutions for global enterprises. Keenon’s robots have served in more than 500 cities in China, as well as over 60 overseas countries.
Shanghai’s Autoflight bags largest financing round among Chinese eVTOL enterprises in Series A fundraiser
Shanghai-based Fengfei Aviation Technology, known by its English name Autoflight, is a leading R&D and manufacturing enterprise for autonomous electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. The firm announced that it recently completed its A Round of financing worth $100 million. This is the largest single financing obtained by a domestic eVTOL enterprise so far.
Xie Jia, Vice President of Autoflight, said that this round of financing will be used for R&D and the manufacturing of manned eVTOL aircraft – essentially a “flying car” – a high-end recruitment, airworthiness certifications and an expansion of market application.
Autoflight was established on September 26, 2019, and engages in the design, R&D, manufacturing, and service of unmanned aerial vehicles. The company’s R&D headquarters were established in Shanghai in 2017. In domestic markets, the company entered during a relatively early stage, specializing in the R&D and manufacturing of autonomous aircraft. At present, Autoflight has over 300 employees, of which technical R&D personnel account for more than half, engaged in aircraft design, flight control algorithms, automatic driving, AI, avionics system, power systems and composite materials.
Shenzhen-based HAI ROBOTICS rakes in $200 million
Shenzhen-based warehouse robotics startup HAI ROBOTICS announced that it has secured two new rounds of financing, garnering over $200 million in total.
The company will invest the funding in boosting its robot fleet with technological upgrades, expanding its global operation networks, optimizing its supply chain management and corporate structure, as well as hiring more people.
The C round funding was led by 5Y Capital with participation from Sequoia Capital China, Source Code Capital, VMS, Walden International and Scheme Capital.
The D round funding, the third capital infusion for the company in 2021, was led by Capital Today and was joined by prior investors, including Sequoia Capital China, 5Y Capital, Source Code Capital, Legend Star, and 01VC
Earlier in March, the company announced a B+ round funding of US$15 million. The quick pace of funding may offer a glimpse to the market’s appraisal for its products, technological strength and services.
SEE ALSO: Chinese Robotics Warehouse Startup HAI ROBOTICS Bags $200M Funding
About HAI ROBOTICS
Founded in 2016, HAI ROBOTICS has acquired more than 400 global patents for core intellectual properties involving positioning, robot control and warehouse management. HAI ROBOTICS launched the world’s first autonomous case-handling robotics (ACR) system, HAIPICK, in 2015. The HAIPICK robots can pick and place packages on storage shelves up to 5 to 7 meters high and are able to carry up to 8 loads in a process that continuously feeds picking stations.