China: Nvidia backs TuSimple; Gu Sheng Tang raises $150m series D

Chinese Yuan bank notes. Photo: Bloomberg

Chinese autonomous truck developer TuSimple has secured funding from Nvidia Corp while Gu Sheng Tang, an operator of traditional medicine clinic network, completed a $150-million series D.

TuSimple secures funding from US chip maker

TuSimple, a Beijing-based artificial intelligence startup in developing autonomous truck, has received an undisclosed sum of funding from the US-based chip manufacturer Nvidia Corp.

This investment is part of series B round and also Nvidia Corp’s first investment in the Chinese startup. Nvidia will own a 3 per cent stake in TuSimple while the startup will support the development of the US company’s artificial intelligence computing platform for self-driving vehicles, Drive PX2.

TuSimple, founded in 2015, helps domestic enterprises to customise the image recognition, autonomous driving and driver monitoring system technologies using computer vision and deep learning algorithms.

Its business model is similar to Otto, the US autonomous truck company. Previously, TuSimple got RMB50 million ($7.43 million) in angel investment from Chinese telecom firm Sina. It said it had secured financing from various investors in this series B round.

It currently has two R&D centers in Beijing and San Diego and hires top scientists in both U.S. and China.

Gu Sheng Tang raises $150m series D

Gu Sheng Tang, a traditional Chinese medicine clinic chain, has raised an RMB1.01 billion ($150 million) series D round from a group of Chinese enterprises and financial institutions.

Investors in this round include China’s state-owned Capital Risk Investment Fund, China Life Insurance, CMB International, China Orient Asset Management and Shanghai International Group, according to local media reports.

The funding will be divided into RMB510 million ($75 million) in equity and RMB500 million ($74 million) in debt.

Gu Sheng Tang has built up a network of traditional Chinese medicine clinics in 2010. Under its business model, Gu Sheng Tang holds 70 per cent in any new clinic and its partnering doctors owns the remaining 30 per cent.

Currently, it has set up 31 clinics in 13 cities and partnered with over 1,500 Chinese traditional medicine experts. It claims over five million patients visited the clinics in 2016.

Gu Sheng Tang received an undisclosed sum in series A from venture capital firm NEA in 2014 and closed a $25 million series B round from NEA and Eight Roads in 2015. Last year, it completed a $70-million series C round led by the US-based global insurance firm Starr Companies with participation from Ping An Insurance.

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