China VC Weekly: Drugs, Semiconductors, and Self-driving Cars

In last week’s VC news, drug research firm XtalPi raised a massive $400 million to bring it to a new lofty valuation, prominent LiDAR company Innovusion closed a $66 million Series B round, semiconductor upstart Southchip secured $46 million in its latest funding round, while autonomous driving startup QCraft secured backing from Meituan and $100 million in its latest inflow of funding from investors. 

Drug R&D company XtalPi raises$400 million

XtalPi, a company which has developed a software product that uses artificial intelligence to identify and model the most promising new drug compounds, secured a second round of financing this year.

Mere months after closing a $318.8 million funding round at the end of last September, the startup, which is headquartered in the US but led by a group of Chinese scientists, just  raised a massive $400 million round of financing, bringing its total valuation to approximately $2 billion.

The series D round was co-led by OrbiMed Healthcare Fund Management and HOPU Investments, according to a report by DealStreetAsia. The company’s previous round was led by a different trio of headline investors, including SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2, PICC Capital and Morningside Venture Capital.

The money raised in this latest round will be used to support XtalPi’s ongoing work to team up with pharmaceutical companies around the world to identify potentially effective molecular compounds, then create models of those compounds to offer a clearer picture of their predicted potential.

Following last autumn’s series C round, XtalPi said it would also begin integrating real-world lab testing data into its platform to build “digital twin” models of the potential new drugs, giving biopharma researchers a clearer idea of how effective each drug will be before clinical trials have even begun.

About XtalPi

XtalPi is a quantum physics-based, AI-powered drug R&D company with a mission to revolutionize drug discovery and development by improving the speed, scale, novelty and success rates. The company’s flagship Intelligent Digital Drug Discovery and Development, or ID4, platform uses AI and cloud-based data collection and analysis technologies to design small-molecule compounds in its analysis.

LiDAR startup Innovusion bags $66 million in Series B round

A startup that develops laser-based detection systems, or LiDAR for short, Innovusion Holdings Ltd, has raised more than $66 million in a Series B plus round led by Guotai Junan International Holdings Ltd and Xiaomi-backed Shunwei Capital. The company’s technology is used in self-driving vehicles and is preparing to ramp up sales to auto-makers next year.

CEO Junwei Bao said that the new round of financing was participated in by new and existing investors. including Temasek International, Nio Capital, Eight Roads Ventures and F-Prime Capital. The company’s research and development is split between Silicon Valley in the U.S. and Suzhou, China.

About Innovusion

Innovusion positions itself as a worldwide leader in the design and development of long-range image-grade LiDAR systems, empowering future mobility solutions.

Shanghai-based Semiconductor firm secures $46 million in its Series D round of financing

Southchip Semiconductor Technology (Shanghai) Co. Ltd. has secured 300 million yuan (about US$46 million) in its Series D round of funding.

The latest funding round was led by Lightspeed China Partners and smartphone giant Vivo Communication Technology. Existing shareholders including Sequoia China and Cash Capital joined the Series D round. The company is planning to use the money to increase its market share in consumer electronics and expand into automotive and industrial applications.

China’s PMIC market is expected to be worth 100 billion yuan (about $15 billion) in 2024 but non-Chinese firms currently hold 90 percent of the market.

About Southchip Semiconductor Technology

The company was founded late in 2015 by a team of engineers from Texas Instruments and since then has developed a series of power management products for lithium batteries, voltage conversion and fast charging protocols. The company counts Xiaomi, Oppo, Lenovo, Samsung and drone-maker DJI amongst its customers.

Meituan backs autonomous driving startup QCrafts $100 million round

Chinese food delivery giant Meituan has invested in autonomous driving startup QCraft’s latest fundraising round of $100 million, highlighting the intensifying bets made by the country’s Big Tech on the promising driverless car space.

SEE ALSO: Meituan’s Venture Capital Wing Long-Z Invests in Chinese Self-Driving Startup QCraft

QCraft announced on Monday that it has raised $100 million in its Series A+ round of financing led by YF Capital and Genesis Capital, with Meituan’s Long-Z Capital and existing investor IDG Capital joining in as well. Domestic media outlet LatePost reported that the round has put QCraft on track towards the “unicorn” club, which refers to startups with a valuation of at least $1 billion.

Qian Yu, CEO and co-founder of QCraft, said at a press conference held on Monday that the company will use the proceeds from the funding round to develop more intelligent urban mobility scenarios, including launching a carpooling service called Longzhou Space.

QCraft is currently testing the Longzhou One – its self-developed autonomous minibus – on open roads in Suzhou, Shenzhen and Wuhan. The minibus is equipped with GPS, four cameras, two laser sensors and five radar sensors to navigate a network of predetermined routes. A combination of artificial intelligence technology and cameras enables it to detect and avoid obstacles on the road, including vehicles, pedestrians and animals.

In March, Bloomberg cited unnamed sources in reporting that social media titan ByteDance had participated in a fundraising round for QCraft in which the startup raised at least $25 million.

About QCraft

Founded by executives who used to work at companies such as Tesla, Waybo and Uber, Silicon Valley-based QCraft acquired a California public road test permit in July 2019, only four months after its inception. In December 2019, the company shifted its focus from the U.S. to China, opening offices in Beijing, Suzhou and Shenzhen.