China self-drive startup JingChi closes $52m pre-series A led by Qiming Venture

Sensors are seen mounted on the windshield of a self-driving car during a self-racing cars event in Willows, California, U.S., April 1, 2017. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

JingChi Inc, a Chinese self-driving technology firm founded by former Baidu veteran, has completed a $52-million pre-series A round led by Qiming Venture Partners, following its announcement of securing $30 million from angel investors two weeks ago.

Its strategic investor NVIDIA GPU Ventures and a consortium of other investors also joined the round, according to the company’s announcement on Tuesday.

Jingchi was founded in April 2017 and has completed autonomous driving tests in closed venue in less than five weeks. In June, it became the 34th company to obtain a license for testing autonomous vehicles and completed its first autonomous mode testing on public roads in California.

The startup plans to use the latest funding for expanding its research and development teams globally and ramp up deployment of a fully level 4 autonomous driving test fleet in China by this year end.

“We are determined to bring fully autonomous vehicles to China and become one of the first companies that apply autonomous driving technologies at scale in 2020,” said JingChi’s founder and CEO Jing Wang.

The startup signed a comprehensive agreement with Anqing City in China last month to deploy a fleet of 50 autonomous test vehicles with initial operations slated to launch by the end of 2017.

It also plans to kick off a “Robotaxi” ride-hailing service through hundreds of autonomous vehicle powered by NVIDIA DRIVE PX in Anqing next year.

Along with the investment, Duane Kuang, Founding Partner at Qiming, will also join Jingchi’s board of directors.

JingChi has more than 50 full time employees more than 80% of whom are engineers. The core technical team has decades of combined experience working on a variety of autonomous driving projects for multiple companies such as Baidu, Ucar, Didi, Uber, and Tesla.

Also read:

China Digest: Jingchi on way to raise $100m; United Imaging closes $500m series A

Samsung enters autonomous driving race with new business, $300m fund

China’s Baidu launches $1.5b autonomous driving fund

 

 

 

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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.