CEL AI Economy Fund, jointly set up by financial conglomerate China Everbright Limited (CEL) and its technology platform Terminus Technologies, has raised another 2 billion yuan ($304.7 million) to launch its Fund III for investments in smart city solutions.
The new capital commitment came from the local government of southwestern China’s Deyang City, Sichuan Province, China Everbright announced in a WeChat post on Wednesday.
CEL and Terminus had introduced their plans of creating a series of RMB- and USD-denominated funds under the name “CEL AI Economy Fund” in August 2020, targeting to garner a combined 10 billion yuan ($1.5 billion). The two companies said that the fund series had already collected 7 billion yuan from institutional investors.
The series of funds mainly invest in smart city solutions powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT). They aim at developing the next-generation information and communications technology (ICT)-enabled industry chain through equity investments around urban tech, digital solutions, intelligent manufacturing, autonomous driving, smart healthcare, IoT applications, and beyond.
In the post, China Everbright described CEL AI Economy Fund as “an all-round upgrade” of its New Economy Fund, which it had created in 2016 to explore opportunities in innovation and entrepreneurship.
China Everbright’s New Economy Fund has by far invested about 25 billion yuan ($3.8 billion) in over 70 startups, more than 20 of which have reached unicorn status, i.e a valuation of at least $1 billion. To date, it has exited from 12 portfolio companies through initial public offerings (IPOs) or mergers & acquisitions (M&A).
Its investments were made into companies like AI giant SenseTime, video streaming platform iQIYI, NetEase’s music streaming arm NetEase Cloud Music, food delivery firm Meituan, as well as electric vehicle makers Nio and Xpeng Motors.
Terminus was founded in 2015 with an investment from China Everbright to provide smart services and solutions based on Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT).
The firm closed an investment from Bahrain’s Investcorp in September 2020. In August 2019, it secured 2 billion yuan in a Series C round led by China Everbright, with participation from e-commerce major JD.com, real estate developer Wanda Group, and voice recognition firm iFlytek.