China VC Weekly: HR, AI and Plant-based Meat

The most prominent VC news of last week included HR software-maker WorkTrans’ announcement of the $190.5 million raised across its latest two rounds, Hey Maet’s multi-million dollar round that will be used to expand the company’s operations and Horizon Robotics’ second tranche of its possibly $700 million Series C round.

HR software developer WorkTrans bags $190.5 million across two rounds

Chinese company specializing in human resources (HR) management software WorkTrans announced on Friday that it had raised a combined $190.5 million across its recent Series C and Series D rounds of financing.

The company raised $50.5 million in its Series C round backed by Sequoia Capital China and several previous backers. It bagged an additional $140 million in its Series D round from Chinese social networking and gaming giant Tencent, and CICC Capital, a private equity fund management platform affiliated with CICC, among others.

“China’s cloud-based HR services market has been burgeoning in recent years as industry infrastructure continues to improve; new demand surges; and clients’ HR investment grows,” WorkTrans’ founder and CEO Chu Feng said in a statement.

Upon the completion of the new financing round, Chu noted that the startup will continue its efforts in offering “one-stop, cost-effective HR solutions” by increasing investment in product & technology development, and construction of a nationwide service network.

The company previously raised 160 million yuan in a Series B round from Lightspeed China Partners, DCM, and Qiming Venture Partners in November 2018.

The firm also raised 100 million yuan in a Series A+ round completed in February 2018, following its 45-million-yuan Series A round in August 2017, according to its website.

About WorkTrans
Founded in 2015 and based in Shanghai, WorkTrans leverages advanced technologies like cloud computing and deep learning to build HR management software solutions, primarily for large and medium-sized enterprises in sectors including retail, manufacturing, catering, and modern service.

Plant-based meat startup Hey Maet closes a multi-million dollar round

Plant-based meat startup Hey Maet raked in a multi-million US dollar pre-Series that will enable them to ramp up technological R&D, channel exploration, and brand promotion.

Four months ago, the company raised a seed round of 10 million yuan ($1.54 million) from a group of investors including Shuangta Food, UpHonest Capital (Silicon Valley, USA), and Tiantu Investment. The second round was predominantly dominated by domestic funds like Junsheng Investment and Welight Capital.

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The exact amount of financing was not disclosed, as the disclosure of a specific amount is not required in mainland China, the round runs in the “multi-millions of US dollars.”

According to Hong, this round of financing will help to further expand production, distribution and improve the company’s technology, with the goal of making Hey Maet one of the leading brands of plant-based meat in China.

About Hey Maet
Incubated by OnePiece Work, an international innovation acceleration platform founded in Silicon Valley, Hey Maet was launched in 2020 by a Silicon Valley trained team with in-depth knowledge in the food-tech space.

AI chip-maker Horizon Robotics raises $400 million, aiming to raise $700 million

Horizon Robotics, one of the leading Chinese developers of artificial intelligence (AI) chips for smart vehicles, has completed the second tranche of its Series C round of financing worth around $400 million. The company is aiming to raise a total of $700 million in the round. The recent transaction was mostly led by Baillie Gifford, YF Capital and battery-maker CATL, according to a company statement on Thursday.

The new funding comes at a time when China increasingly pursues self-sufficiency in high-tech industries, including AI, semiconductors and information technology amid mounting tech and trade tensions between Beijing and Washington.

Proceeds from the new round will be used to accelerate the development and commercialization of its chips designed for autonomous vehicles, as well as build a partner ecosystem in the industry, according to the company statement.

About Horizon Robotics
Founded in 2015 by a former head of Baidu’s autonomous driving unit, the Beijing-based startup is currently preparing to launch its Journey 5 chip that features computing power of 96 trillion operations per second, enabling Level 3 and Level 4 autonomy.