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AI startup raises $410 million funding

By Cheng Yu and Ma Si | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-07-13 14:45

Investment into artificial intelligence continues to run hot as the cutting-edge technology is widely seen as the next frontier of innovation and growth.

Beijing-based AI company SenseTime has raised $410 million in its Series B funding round this week.

The money will be used to finance its intensified efforts to develop computer vision and deep learning technologies.

The round includes a series B1 round which was led by Chinese private equity firm CDH Investments and a B2 round led by Sailing Capital. Other investors include China International Capital Corporation (CICC), China Everbright Holdings, China Renaissance, and China Merchants Securities (Hong Kong).

Xu Li, co-founder and CEO of SenseTime, said: "The capital we raised in our Series B funding will serve as a major driver. It will allow us to maintain our innovative edge by supporting our efforts to construct groundbreaking AI infrastructure."

The company will also ramp up resources to expand its product line, as well as, exploring new verticals such as autonomous driving.

James Liu, president and CEO of Sailing Capital, who led the series B2 round of funding and invested in the well-known Israeli computer vision company Mobileye, said that they see a similar level of research and development strengths in SenseTime as they did in Mobileye. He said they prefer to invest in companies with cutting-edge, proprietary technologies.

SenseTime said it has already enlisted more than 400 partners and customers including NVIDIA, China Mobile, UnionPay, Huawei and Xiaomi. Its customer base and business size grew a lot in 2016.

Following this funding round, the company plans to use AI to enable more breakthroughs across industries including finance, security, internet, business intelligence, smartphones, smart home, and smart cities both in China and abroad.

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