Chinese AI firm Intellifusion raises nearly $141m in pre-IPO round

Intellifusion, a Chinese AI firm famed for its facial recognition solutions in the public security space, has garnered nearly 1 billion yuan ($141 million) in a Series Pre-IPO round of financing that will back its continued R&D in AI algorithms, AI chips and big data.

The Pre-IPO round was led by Chinese government-linked Guangdong Finance Fund Management, US venture capital firm Walden International, and Forebright Capital Management, a USD-denominated private equity unit of state-owned enterprise China Everbright Group, said Beijing-based ZhenFund in a WeChat post on Friday.

ZhenFund, the earliest investor of Intellifusion, injected millions of yuan in the firm’s angel round in September 2015.

A slew of Chinese domestic investors, such as Topping Capital, Guangzhou-based BOC&GFIH Private Equity Fund Management, Chinese state-owned publishing house Shenzhen Publishing Group, and Shenzhen-based HCSD Capital, participated in the investment.

Other investors include CCB International, a financial and investment affiliate of China Construction Bank (CCB), Hong Kong-based Bank of Communications’ subsidiary BOCOM International, and Sino-US Venture Capital (SUVC), which backs high-tech startups across China and the United States.

Founded in 2014, Intellifusion developed its first recognition product “DeepEye” on the back of a 40-million-yuan ($4.56 million) capital support granted from southern China’s Shenzhen government. The startup quickly made a name for itself by providing the local police with such products, which feature non-cooperative facial recognition, meaning identification of people from their faces as they move around rather than in stationary poses for cameras.

Intellifusion’s DeepEye system, which has been adopted across over 100 cities in China and internationally, was initially used for identifying criminals and then extended more controversially to naming and shaming jaywalkers, as well as other application scenarios like fingerprint matching and thermal scanning at the border control between the mainland and Hong Kong.

Intellifusion raised hundred million yuan in a Series B round from investors like Hong Kong-based commercial bank China CITIC Bank International, and Bank of China (BOC)’s subsidiary BOC International in March 2019.

In March 2017, the company closed tens of millions of U.S. dollars in a Series A round from Chinese venture capital firm Green Pine Capital Partners (GPCP), state-owned Shenzhen Investment Holdings and others. Financial terms of the previous rounds remained undisclosed.

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.

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

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  • 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. 
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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.