China’s SenseTime hires Bocom’s Wong as it nears raising $790m AI Fund

Photo: SenseTime website

Chinese facial recognition startup SenseTime said it hired Esther Wong, a banker at Bocom International Holdings Ltd., to oversee its strategic investments.

Wong will join SenseTime as a managing director, June Jin, a spokeswoman for the company, said in response to Bloomberg queries Monday. The dealmaker, who was Bocom International’s Hong Kong-based head of equity capital markets, had worked at the Chinese-controlled investment bank since March 2015, according to her LinkedIn profile.

SenseTime is in the final stages of raising about 5 billion yuan ($790 million) for an investment fund focused on artificial intelligence companies in China, people with knowledge of the matter said. Wong’s duties will include helping manage the fund as well as overseeing mergers and acquisitions work for SenseTime, according to one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private.

The AI fund, which is backed by Chinese private equity firm CDH Investments, will be a domestic yuan-denominated fund, another person said. CDH is helping to find investors and agreed to raise about half of the funds being sought, the people said.

Fundraising efforts are still underway, and the final size of the fund could change, the people said. SenseTime declined to comment on details of the fund, while CDH didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

(By Vinicy Chan, Crystal Tse, Cathy Chan and Lulu Yilun Chen)

Also Read:

China’s AI startup SenseTime plans IPO, U.S. R&D centre as early as 2018

Qualcomm invests in Chinese AI facial recognition startup SenseTime

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.