In last week’s VC news, robotics reaps funding, Sequoia China takes on French fashion, tourism tries again, livestreaming attracts funding, and more.
Neptune Robotics Completes Series A Round Worth $15M
Neptune Robotics announced it has completed an A round of financing totaling 100 million yuan ($15.4 million). The leading investor was Sequoia China, while co-investors were Matrix Partners and SOSV.
After this round of financing, Neptune Robotics will reportedly invest more in product development, accelerate its market expansion and continue technological innovation.
About Neptune Robotics
Neptune Robotics was established in 2018 and its products are often used in the shipping industry. It focuses on the inspection and cleaning of ship hulls by remote semi-automatic industrial grade robots in port and anchorage scenarios, thus saving fuel and reducing carbon emissions for the shipping industry. So far, the company has carried out regular hull inspection and cleaning services in ports and anchorage sites in the Chinese cities of Shenzhen and Ningbo.
Agile Robots Completes $30M Investment Round
Intelligent robotics developer Agile Robots has recently completed a financing round totaling $30 million led by Foxconn Industrial Internet. Combined with the follow-up investment in Agile’s round-C financing in September last year, Foxconn Industrial Internet has now invested a total of $34.5 million in the startup.
Up to now, Agile Robots has completed six rounds of financing, amounting to more than 2 billion yuan ($309 million). According to the annual report previously released by Foxconn Industrial Internet, when Agile Robots completed round-C financing, its valuation had reached $1 billion.
About Agile Robots
Agile Robots was established in 2018 and has dual headquarters in Munich, Germany and Beijing, China. The company focuses on AI intelligent robots which it derived from the Robotics and Mechatronics Center (RMC), a cluster and DLR’s competence center for R&D in the areas of robotics, mechatronics, and optical systems.
Quantum Computing Company Huayi Quantum Raises $15 M Angel Round
Chinese ion trap quantum computing startup Huayi Quantum has reportedly secured over 100 million yuan ($15.4 million) in its angel round. The round was led by Gaorong Capital and joined by Sequoia Capital China, Turing Ventures, Aurisco, and MiraclePlus.
About Huayi Quantum
Founded in January 2022 by several prominent members of the Tsinghua University Center for Quantum Information, the company’s goal is to develop modular, standardized, large-scale quantum computers, advanced ion trap quantum computing systems, and accessible quantum cloud platforms.
French Fashion Brand DESTREE Completes Series A Round Led by Sequoia China
Sequoia China announced that it has led the round-A investment in DESTREE, a Paris-based fashion and accessories brand. The specific financing amount was not disclosed.
Zhang Yu, Investment Partner of Sequoia China and Former Editor-in-Chief of Vogue China, led this round on behalf of Sequoia. She has previously worked with other outstanding women in the creative and business fields, including Jessica Alba, Beyoncé, Gisele Bündchen, Carmen Busquets, Amy Griffin, Gabriela Hearst, Rihanna, Emily Weiss and Reese Witherspoon.
DESTREE was founded in 2016 by Géraldine Guyot and Laetitia Lumbroso, who are responsible for design and business operations respectively. At present, the firm’s products are distributed through more than 80 specific channels around the world, hoping to promote direct dialogue with global consumers by strengthening its own digital sales channels and opening direct-sale physical boutiques.
Zuzuche Scores Tens of Millions in Series D Financing
Zuzuche, a global self-guided tourism platform, announced on Wednesday its recent completion of round-D financing worth tens of millions of dollars. The funds are to be used for strengthening product research and development, supplementing the global operations team, expanding the Chinese market and improving customer service capabilities.
Up to now, Zuzuche’s business covers more than 6,000 cities in nearly 200 countries and regions, and it has over 200,000 stores around the world. Its services include domestic and international car rentals, scenic spot tickets, local entertainment, free GPS in Chinese, 24-7 global customer service in Chinese and English, insurance and other self-guided tour related services. To date, more than 30 million Chinese tourists have used its global self-guided tour services.
Zuzuche is China’s leading platform for outbound road trips and currently conducts business in 200 countries and 6000 regions around the world. The company provides users with relevant services such as outbound car rentals, local activities products and free GPS in Chinese.
Livestream Marketing Firm Wahool Scores Nearly $10M in Two Financing Rounds
Livestreaming and influencer marketing services platform Wahool has recently completed two consecutive rounds of financing, according to a report by Chinese media outlet 36Kr. The pre A-round of financing featured participation from Jinshajiang Venture Capital, while A-round funds were provided by Ceyuan Ventures. The total amount of financing was nearly $10 million, and Foresight Capital served as the exclusive financial advisor.
According to the company, as of March 2022, Wahool had established relationships with more than 1,000 overseas influencers and has seen a monthly sales turnover exceeding $6 million with a compound quarterly growth of 146%.
Wahool was founded in 2021 and started with Amazon Live before successfully building an influencer marketing solution. By integrating supply chain resources, Wahool can provide one-stop digital services including product selection, marketing, quality control and after-sales services. The company has basically formed a relatively complete business loop between merchants (including brands and factories), platforms and influencers. The firm’s influencers are expanding from Amazon to global livestreaming platforms including TikTok, Instagram and Facebook.
ShadowBot Secures $100M in Series C Round
ShadowBot, a robotic process automation (RPA) enterprise, announced Tuesday that it has completed a round C of financing totaling $100 million. This round was led by Goldman Sachs and an unknown CVC institution and was followed by existing shareholders, GGV Capital and GL Ventures.
In July 2021, ShadowBot secured $50 million in financing led by Coatue Management, which had also invested in Uipath, the largest RPA company in the world. Coupled with several rounds of financing worth tens of millions of dollars from GL Ventures and GGV Capital, ShadowBot has now completed financing totalling nearly $200 million within two years.
ShadowBot was established in October 2019 and has since become a rising star in the market. Firm CEO Jin Lijian founded the company with the initial intention of “making an RPA product available for ordinary users.” Jin has previously been responsible for the R&D of products for Alibaba‘s e-commerce platform Taobao, and has a broad understanding of the challenges in the e-commerce field. Given his past experience, Jin also firmly believes in the area that good products will bring about growth.
Computer Graphics Technology Firm GritWorld Completes Series B+ Round
GritWorld, a computer graphics engine technology provider, has completed its B+ round of financing in which it secured tens of millions of dollars. This investment was jointly led by Baidu Ventures (BV), CCB Trust and Everest VC, and was followed by existing shareholder, GL Ventures.
The new funds will be used to further improve the mobile-cloud interaction and experience of GritWorld’s third-generation graphics engine and to accelerate its commercialization and market layout.
The core product of GritWorld is its third generation graphics engine, GritGene, which the company released in September 2021. The engine includes two sub-engines: GritGene for Cloud and GritGene for Mobile.