In last week’s venture capital news, Carl Pei’s startup Nothing attracted a new capital injection, raising $70 million in its Series B funding round, prominent robotaxi startup Pony.ai boosted its valuation to $8.5 billion upon receiving fresh funding from an undisclosed group of investors, and more.
Nothing Bags $70 Million in Series-B Financing
Nothing, a global consumer tech brand, announced its completion of a Series B financing round totaling $70 million, co-led by EQT Ventures and C Ventures, with additional participation from GV, Future Shape, Gaorong Capital and Animoca Brands.
Nothing currently comprises a team of about 300 people, including design director Adam Bates, the former design director of British electronics manufacturer Dyson.
According to Carl Pei, who is now Nothing’s CEO, the company hopes to build an ecology that can compete with Apple in the future. “We have engineering and supply chain from China, and industrial design in Europe and America,” he added.
The new funds will be used to create new product categories, recruit talent and grow operations at its new London Design Hub. Nothing’s team is expected to expand to 500 people this year. Techcrunch reported on March 2 that Nothing is developing smartphones and plans to announce related plans in April.
Nothing was established in the United Kingdom in 2020 by co-founder Carl Pei, who is also the co-founder of Chinese smartphone brand OnePlus. The new investment brings the total raised by Nothing since its inception to $144 million. Nothing released its first product, “ear (1),” carbon-neutral true wireless earbuds in August 2021, shipping over 400,000 units.
Pony.ai Valued at $8.5B After Latest Round
Pony.ai, prominent China- and U.S.-based robotaxi startup, announced that its valuation has surged to $8.5 billion after the first close of its Series D funding round. The company, however, did not disclose the specific amount raised or the list of participating investors. Pony.ai was last valued at $5.3 billion in late 2020.
With a global team of over 1,000 employees, Pony is currently at the stage of testing autonomous vehicles in four major Chinese cities (Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen), as well as Fremont and Irvine in California.
Founded in 2016 and backed by Toyota, Pony is among a group of rapidly growing robotaxi startups that have set up testing and operational presence in both China and the U.S. Its peers include WeRide, Deeproute and AutoX.
Smart Cleaning Appliances Brand Speedfox Receives Nearly $16M in Financing
Smart cleaning appliances brand Speedfox completed an A round of financing worth nearly 100 million yuan ($15.82 million), following funding by Tencent Investment, Sequoia Capital, BAI Capital, IDG, 5Y Capital, Toutoushidao Capital, Qianhai FoF, K2VC and others. Funds from this round will reportedly be allocated to continue water technology innovation and smart home ecosystem construction.
Tree Wan, CEO of Speedfox, said that at present, the company has established a sales network domestically and abroad, which is distributed across private traffic, e-commerce and overseas offline channels. When it comes to future planning, Wan said that after this round of financing, Speedfox will continue to increase investment in technology and product R&D, expand its team, accelerate commercialization and explore new product categories.
Founded at the end of 2020, Speedfox is an artificial intelligence startup focusing on household cleaning and water technology innovation. At the supply chain level, the company cooperates with many leading core suppliers, including top producers such as Luxshare Precision.
Automation Solutions Provider Fair Robotics Completes Series-B Round of Over $50 Million
Chinese collaborative robot-maker Fair Robotics has received an injection of over $50 million in its Series B round of financing led by Source Code Capital, along with joint investment from Alibaba and Meituan-backed Long-Z. Previous investors Shunwei Capital, GL Ventures and Eastern Bell Capital followed up, while Thriving Capital served as the long-term exclusive financial advisor.
Fair Robotics’ business model is focused on providing automation integrators and developers across various industries.
About Fair Robotics
Founded in 2019, Fair Robotics provides high-performance collaborative robot to the market with its self-developed and self-produced software and hardware capabilities. The core components designed by the firm’s team for collaborative robots, such as reducers and servo motors, have been recognized by customers across retail, medicine, health care, agriculture and other industries.
BSG Technology Secures Nearly 100M Yuan From Xiaomi
Wuhan BSG Technology Co., Ltd., a provider of intelligent manufacturing solutions, announced that it has secured nearly 100 million yuan ($15.8 million) in A-round financing. The lead investor in this round was Beijing-based electronics giant Xiaomi.
Liu Zhufeng, CEO of BSG, said, “BSG forges ahead with the manufacturing industry, strengthens technological innovation and inputs in R&D, and expands its leading edge in products, technology and services with manufacturing and supply chain collaboration as the core.”
BSG was established in 2012. It provides complete manufacturing operations management (MOM) and supply chain collaboration solutions for manufacturing companies on the strength of its self-developed BSG Nebula intelligent manufacturing platform, which is grounded in international standards.
AI Text Processing Startup Data Grand Rakes in $91.8M in C-Round Financing
Data Grand, an AI company focused on intelligent text processing, announced that it has secured 580 million yuan ($91.8 million) in C-round financing. The investors include CITIC, China Merchants Bank, China Guangfa Bank and China Capital Management, as well as well-known investment institutions Shenzhen Capital Group Co., Ltd., Hundreds Capital, XiangHe Capital, Advantech Capital, Z Capital, Legend Star and Sunshine Insurance Group.
The funds will reportedly be allocated to reinforce Data Grand’s leading edge in intelligent text processing and to facilitate the technological innovation and industrial application of its core products, such as NLP, RPA and OCR.
About Data Grand
Founded in 2015, Data Grand specializes in AI technologies such as Natural Language Processing (NLP), Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and knowledge graphs. It has developed a complete system of text data collection, labeling and training, and has constructed a data-oriented knowledge graph warehouse. The company trains machine learning models at the data application platform and develops a series of intelligent robot products by integrating them with business scenarios.
Lingxi AR Attracts Nearly $16M in Series-B Financing
Augmented reality (AR) optical display technology firm Lingxi AI announced its completion of a B round of financing worth about 100 million yuan ($15.8 million). Investors in this round include Xiamen Meiya Wutong Investment Management, FIH Mobile Limited, Hangzhou MDK Opto, Beijing Tianhe Venture Capital and Shenzhen Wudao Capital.
After this financing round, Lingxi AR will continue focusing on the R&D of AR optical waveguides, solving problems related to the automatic production of arrayed waveguides and conducting further explorations of the market. The firm will also continue the R&D of holographic waveguide technology and its mass production. Meanwhile, it will accelerate construction and promotion of an AR industry chain.
About Lingxi AR
Founded at the end of 2014, Lingxi AR has been focusing on optical waveguide technology for AR glasses. At present, it has AR waveguide modules which are thinner than ordinary lenses for myopia and weigh only 11.5 g. It has a mass production capacity of 10,000 for ultra-small optical waveguide modules. Finally, the firm has nearly 200 customers from medical, military, industrial manufacturing, power grid and other industries.
Machine Vision Startup NeuroBot Completes Series A Round of Financing
NeuroBot, a low-code machine vision development platform provider, announced the closing of its Series A round of funding, featuring investment exclusively from Susquehanna International Group (SIG). The funds are mainly to be used for product updates, technological advancements and marketing promotions. NeuroBot was previously invested in by Korean Investment Partners (KIP), Plug and Play (PNP) and other well-known institutions.
NeuroBot was established in 2018, and has since brought about a low-code development platform for machine vision. The firm adheres to a product concept it calls “0 Code, 0 Threshold, 0 Hardware, 0 Cost” to empower teams of engineers and facilitate the extensive application of machine vision.
Cybersecurity Firm XDR SEC Completes Round-A Financing
Beijing-based cybersecurity startup XDR SEC announced that it has completed its Series A round of financing, with lead investor including Legend Capital and co-investor Ultrabuttonwood Capital. All of the firm’s existing shareholders such as Sequoia China also joined as co-investors. Yuanqi Capital acted as the exclusive financial adviser.
XDR SEC had its start as one of the first independent vendors to focus on XDR in China, successfully launching the country’s first XDR product in January 2021. In July 2021, the company released XDR 2.0 and announced a strategic financing round of nearly 100 million yuan ($15.8 million) from Sequoia China and others.
About XDR SEC
XDR SEC was established in October 2020. It is dedicated to providing customers with accurate and comprehensive network security detection, as well as efficient and automated responses to threat operations.