Greater China digest: GENIUS closes $14m Series B; Carnot raises $800k

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Chinese artificial intelligence (AI) based edtech startup GENIUS has secured over 100 million yuan ($14 million) in a Series B round of financing, while Hong Kong-based proptech startup Carnot Innovations has raised over $800,000 in seed funding.

GENIUS secures over $14m in Series B round

Chinese AI-based edtech startup GENIUS has secured over 100 million yuan ($14 million) in a Series B round of financing led by venture capital firm Qiming Venture Partners.

Other investors including Chinese investment company V Star Capital also participated in the new round, according to a statement on Wednesday.

GENIUS, founded in February 2017 and based in Shanghai, primarily provides AI-based STEM education services and solutions to students and schools ranging from kindergarten to the 12th grade (K-12). The company now serves over 3,000 schools across a dozen provinces in China, according to the statement.

Proceeds will be used to further develop the company’s AI-powered teaching content, online education platform and other products. The company also plans to expand cooperation with more top schools and speed up the commercialization of its solutions.

GENIUS completed a Series A round from Chinese intelligent humanoid robot developer Ubtech Robotics, and an angel round from MOOC-CN Education, an affiliate of Chinese state-owned Tsinghua Holdings.

HK-based proptech startup Carnot Innovations raises over $800k

Hong Kong-based proptech startup Carnot Innovations has raised over $800,000 in seed funding from 500 Durians, the Southeast Asia-focused fund of early-stage venture firm 500 Startups, Singapore-based investment company MTZ Holdings, and Entrepreneur First.

The investment comes after Carnot Innovations received HK$450,000 ($57,488) in pre-seed funding earlier this year from Entrepreneur First, an international talent investor, to kick off its business and set up headquarters in Hong Kong.

Carnot Innovations, founded in 2018, uses machine learning algorithms to predict failures in heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems in commercial buildings. The company aims to disrupt the “inefficient and outdated” maintenance practices, which cause an average loss of over $350,000 per year in energy and maintenance costs for each commercial building, according to a company statement on Thursday.

“Carnot’s unique solution transforms the labour-intensive, error-prone and time-consuming exercise of building maintenance into a dynamic, easily-operable and low-cost dashboard that’s far more capable than human operators. We believe that the team will capitalise on the expected 30% growth of the smart building industry,” said Vishal Harnal, general partner at 500 Durians fund, in the statement.

The startup plans to use the proceeds to expand its business across the Asia Pacific while building a strong in-house team, according to a statement. The firm is already foraying into Singapore and Thailand with the support from government-backed Hong Kong Science and Technology Park.

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.