China VC Weekly: Plant-Based Meat and Bioelectronic Skin
In last week’s VC news, prominent Chinese plant-based meat startup Starfield raised a new $100 million round, bioelectronic technology provider Rotex secured backing from investors including Hillhouse Capital, and computer vision startup Axera raked in $126 million from Meituan, Qiming and others.
Agilines Scores Tens of Millions of Yuan in Seed-Round Financing Led by Lightspeed China
Digital platform developer Agilines recently announced its completion of a seed round of financing worth tens of millions of yuan, led by Lightspeed China Partners and followed by Sequoia China Seed Fund, Miracle Automation Engineering and Fanshi Fund. The investments are to be allocated for further product research and development, market expansion and team growth.
Against the background of digital transformation in the manufacturing industry, the product R&D cycle of automobiles is getting shorter and shorter, and the cooperation of engineers urgently needs to be improved.
PCP (Product Collaboration Platform), the core product of Agilines, is a digital R&D platform equipped with PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) and CAD SaaS tools, which can support high-end manufacturing industries such as automobiles and aerospace to realize efficient digital transformation and improve the collaborative efficiency of engineers. The core founding team of Agilines brings over 10 years of experience in industrial software and enterprise information services. Founder and CEO Wang Shengjun was Vice President of digital business development at NIO and CIO of Jaguar Land Rover China and Asia Pacific.
Computer Vision Upstart Axera Bags $126 Million From Meituan, Qiming and Others
Chinese artificial intelligence chipmaker Axera has raised 800 million yuan ($126 million) from a group of investors that included food delivery giant Meituan.
The funding round also counted Qiming Venture Partners as one of the investors, as well as some other smaller backers. The latest capital injection comes just months after Axera’s previous investment round in August, highlighting investor appetite for China’s semiconductor-related startups.
This startup has so far launched two chips. Axera says that its chips can be used for applications such as smart cities and smart homes. The new funding will be put toward hiring talent and expanding the company’s business, Axera said.
Founded in 2019, Axera mainly focuses on computer vision AI chips. This relates to the way that computers analyze and process large amounts of images and can be used in areas such as facial recognition.
Rotex Completes Round A Financing, to Develop Flexible Bioelectronic Technology Products
Rotex, which focuses on the development of flexible bioelectronic technology products, announced that it had completed an A round of financing worth tens of millions of yuan. This round of financing was led by Alwin Capital and was followed by Hillhouse Capital, Hainan Mangao and B.H.MED.
The funds raised in this round will be mainly used to develop the company’s focus on innovative products based on flexible bioelectronic technology. The company is also looking to expand its medical and non-medical production capacities and to start the product registration clinical research for products currently under research in many medical and aesthetic fields.
Founded in 2015, Rotex is made up of an interdisciplinary team of top scientists from the fields of materials, electronics, mechanics and biomedicine. Its core flexible bioelectronic skin technology can be widely applied in many fields such as transdermal drug delivery, skin physiotherapy, flexible electronics implants, bioelectric signal sensing and mechanical signal flexible sensing.
Plant-Based Food Tech Company Starfield Closes $100 Million Series B Round of Financing
China’s leading plant-based food technology company Starfield announced its completion of a Series B round of financing totaling $100 million, led by Primavera Capital Group and followed by Zeng Ming, Chairman of the Academic Committee of Alibaba.
Starfield’s existing shareholders, including Sky9 Capital, Joy Capital, Matrix Partners and Lightspeed China Partners, also participated in the financing. Additionally, Starfield announced that its first production base and self-built factory would be located in the city of Xiaogan in Hubei Province.
This is Starfield’s fifth round of financing since it was founded in 2019. Sky9 Capital led the Series A round of financing in August 2020 and has continued to invest in subsequent rounds. Interest in Starfield’s development reflects the rapid growth of the industry and the recognition of plant-based proteins by the Chinese market and consumers.
Since its founding, Starfield has integrated R&D, production and sales of plant-based foods that contain non-GMO soybeans or super foods (such as chickpeas, quinoa and microalgae) as the main raw materials.
SEE ALSO: China VC Weekly: Smart Manufacturing, Chips and More
MKSemi Completes Pre A+ Round of Financing, Led By Lightspeed China Partners and Gaorong Capital
Mauna Kea Semiconductors (MKSemi), a low-power ultra-wideband (UWB) company, recently announced its completion of a pre A+ round of financing, raising over 80 million yuan (about $12.6 million). This round was led by Lightspeed China Partners and Gaorong Capital, followed by Qiming Venture Partners and Ivy Capital.
Established in 2019, MKSemi is led by several senior experts in the field of digital-analog mixed signal design and has been focusing on the design and development of UWB chips and solutions. This round of financing will be used for product R&D, market expansion and employee recruitment.
Eigencomm Completes C-Round Financing With Softbank Vision Fund 2 as Lead Investor
Shanghai Eigencomm Technologies Ltd. announced the completion of its C round of financing worth 1 billion yuan. The leading investor was Softbank Vision Fund 2, while co-investors were Cathay Capital, Costone Capital, GF Qianhe Qiaobei Chobe Capital, along with existing shareholders Qiming Venture Partners Capital, Fenghuo Capital, Fellow Partners, Xingwang Investment and China Universal Asset Management Capital.
The funds are marked for the continuous R&D and innovation of global 5G communication chips.
Eigencomm was established in February 2017 and is located in Zhang Jiang High-Tech Park, Shanghai. It is one of the leading cellular mobile communication chip designers in the world and is dedicated to designing chips for the cellular Internet of Things (IoT). The company is aiming for chips with the best performance and the highest cost performance. In the global community, Eigencomm is one of the few companies capable of independently researching cellular communication chips, apart from large companies such as Qualcomm, HiSilicon, Samsung, MTK and UNISOC.
Sxsaw Secures $15.7 Million in Round A+ Financing
Surface acoustic wave (SAW) filter manufacturer Zhangjiagang Sxsaw Electronic Technology Co., Ltd. announced that it has completed an A+ round of financing worth 100 million yuan ($15.7 million). It received joint investment from institutions including SR Capital, Dynamic Capital and Orient Securities Capital Investment.
The firm’s last A-round financing featured joint investment from Meilan Capital, Nanotrend Capital and Suzhou HunterSun. In this new round, Sxsaw will mainly invest in its second-phase production capacity expansion.
Founded in 2019, Sxsaw is an enterprise integrating chip design, tape-out, packaging and testing in China. At present, the firm has a complete industrial chain. The filters, duplexers and resonators produced by the company can be applied to the filtering and resonance of wireless communication electronic products, including smartphones, base station and remote controls. They are important for realizing the wireless reception of mobile communication (2G to 5G), navigation and positioning (GPS and Beidou), WiFi and other signals in smartphones.