China VC Weekly: AI, Used Cars and Neuromedicine

Last week, while not too eventful in terms of the number of VC deals in China, saw at least three interesting investments. Tencent-backed Enflame Technology raised a sum in the ballpark of $10 million in its Series B round, while the largest Chinese used car dealer added $200 million to its recent $1.5 billion series D round. Around the same time, Sanbo Brain Hospital, a local neurological hospital chain, raised 800 million yuan from investors, more than any other Chinese medical company in recent years.

Cloud AI platform Enflame Technology, raises 700 million yuan in Series B funding round

Tencent-backed cloud artificial intelligence-training platform Enflame Technology, raised 700 million yuan ($98.6 million) in Series B funding led by private equity firm SummitView Capital, the company announced Thursday.

Enflame said the proceeds from this round will be used to scale its business, expand its tech support team with talents and promote mass production of its products. It also plans to enhance R&D of its second-generation cloud-based AI training products.

Zhao Lidong, co-founder and CEO of Enflame, said in a statement that his team has understood the importance of commercialization since Enflame’s inception and the company seeks to become a reliable supplier of AI cloud computing solutions in China, reducing the country’s reliance on tech imports.

About Enflame

Founded in March 2018, Enflame focuses on deep learning high-end chips developed for cloud data centers and provides neural network solutions for artificial intelligence. The company launched its first product, CloudBlazer, an AI accelerator with power-efficient data processing in December 2019.

China’s largest secondhand car dealer bags $200 million in addition to its recent $1.5 billion Series D round

Chehaoduo Group, the parent company of the used car marketplace Guazi, has recently raised an additional $200 million, adding to its $1.5 billion Series D round of financing raised earlier from investors including Softbank and Sequoia Capital China.

The new funds will be used for the development of “beyond-car” business verticals, and the strengthening of coordination between those new ventures and existing businesses like Guazi.

Softbank led Chehaoduo’s $1.5 billion series D last year. However, according to sources familiar with the matter, SoftBank was in contact with Chehaoduo as early as August last year hoping to make additional investments.

About Chehaoduo

Chehaoduo is the owner of the used car marketplace Guazi and new car e-commerce marketplace Maodou. The company has been growing rapidly, its secondhand car stores under the Guazi brand have been opened in more than 100 Chinese cities.

Neurological hospital chain raises largest investment round among all medical companies in recent history 

Sanbo Brain Hospital has recently announced the completion of a Series B round of equity financing worth more than 800 million yuan, making it one of the largest transactions in the medical services industry in recent years.

The round was led by Taikang Life Insurance, the fourth-largest life insurer by premium income in China. CEC Capital, GF Xinde Investment and others followed. 

About Sanbo Brain

Sanbo Brain Hospital is a Chinese chain of clinics focused on neuromedicine founded roughly 16 years ago. It currently operates seven large hospitals (including one under construction), in six provinces and cities including Beijing, Chongqing, Hunan, Fujian, Henan, and Yunnan.