Chinese AI startup Horizon Robotics seeking to raise up to $1b: Report

Chinese AI chip maker Horizon Robotics is raising up to $1 billion in a Series B funding round that would value it at $3-4 billion, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday.

The Beijing-based startup provides artificial intelligence chips used in autonomous cars, surveillance cameras and other smart devices.

In October, China Money Network had reported that Horizon Robotics was looking to raise between $500 million and $1 billion from new investors including an unnamed semiconductor company of the same size as its existing backer Intel Corporation.

Co-founded by Yu Kai, who previously led a self-driving project for Internet major Baidu, Horizon Robotics’ other investors include Hillhouse Capital, Harvest Investments, Morningside Venture Capital, Wu Capital, Linear Ventures, Sequoia Capital and Vertex Ventures, among others.

In 2017, Horizon Robotics had raised $100 million in a Series A+ round backed by Intel.

According to Tsinghua University’s June 2018 China Artificial Intelligence Development Report, investments and financing in Chinese AI companies over the last five years accounted for 60 per cent of the global total. China had more than 1,100 AI companies, about half the US total, as of June 2018.

SenseTime became the world’s most valuable AI startup after it raised a $600-million investment led by Alibaba Group earlier this year at a $4.5-billion valuation. Meanwhile, Bytedance, which is now the world’s largest internet firm with a $75-billion valuation, has intensively invested in AI as it uses AI-driven algorithms for its content platform.

China has an ambitious plan to grow its AI industry to a $150-billion market by 2030. It is supporting this goal by offering funding to AI-related companies, special grants to startups in the field and increased support for AI-related academic research, said a report by financial services group UBS.

Alibaba alone plans to invest $15 billion until 2020 to build R&D labs as it aims to become a global AI leader.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.