AInnovation, the artificial intelligence (AI) unit created by Chinese venture capital firm Sinovation Ventures, has raised nearly 400 million yuan ($57 million) in a Series B round of financing led by China Renaissance’s New Economy Fund.
CICC Alpha, an investment platform of China International Capital Corporation (CICC), private equity firm SAIF Partners, CreditEase, a Chinese fintech firm specialized in wealth management and inclusive finance, and other investors also poured money into the investment, China Renaissance revealed in a statement on its WeChat official account on Wednesday.
China Renaissance was the exclusive financial advisor of the deal.
AInnovation was established in March 2018 by Sinovation Ventures, a technology-focused investment company led by former Google China head Kai-Fu Lee. The startup leverages AI technologies like computer vision, natural language processing (NLP), and machine learning to develop products and solutions for corporate clients, helping them improve business efficiency and realize digital transformation.
The company mainly serves enterprises in the fields of retail, manufacturing, finance, and community & industrial park construction. Some of its clients include Chinese commercial bank China Everbright Bank, state-owned home appliance manufacturer Gree Electric, state-run iron and steel producer Baowu, automaker Changan Automobile, and Swiss food and drink processing conglomerate Nestlé.
Proceeds of the new round will be used to further enhance the R&D of AI technologies to offer better products and solutions for enterprises in the manufacturing, retail and finance industries, according to the statement.
The Series B round brought the total capital raised by the startup to nearly 1 billion yuan ($143 million). AInnovation completed Series A and A+ rounds at over 400 million yuan ($57 million) in January 2019. The previous rounds were led by CICC Alpha, with participation from Sinovation Ventures, and Chinese venture capital firm Chengwei Capital.
The company also raised more than 100 million yuan ($14 million) in an angel round led by Chengwei Capital in May 2018.
China Renaissance, which started private equity investment management business in 2013, now has $4.7 billion in total assets under management (AUM). The New Economy Fund manages three RMB-denominated funds and three USD-denominated funds with investments into over 90 companies in the new economy sector, including Hong Kong-listed group buying website Meituan-Dianping, out-of-home advertising network operator Focus Media, and medical device company WuXi AppTec.
After investments in top AI platform providers, the New Economy Fund will gradually shift focus to the application and commercialization of AI in various industries, with a focus on verticals that “have larger market demands and clearer application scenarios,” said Du Yongbo, managing director of the fund, in the statement.
“In terms of the industry, the manufacturing sector will be faced with great opportunities brought by informatization and automation renovation, in which computer vision is expected to play an extremely important role,” said Du.