Beijing-based AI chip startup Horizon Robotics announced on Thursday that it has secured $400 million in a Series C2 round, or the second tranche of its Series C round.
The funding was co-led by the UK-based investment management firm Baillie Gifford; YF Capital, a PE firm co-founded by Alibaba’s Jack Ma in 2010; CITIC Group’s alternative asset manager CITIC Private Equity Funds Management (CPE); and Chinese lithium-ion batteries designer Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL).
It also attracted an array of prominent investors including the Japanese financial services provider Orix Group, global hedge fund CloudAlpha Tech Fund, Neumann Advisors, Chinese state-backed Shandong Hi-Speed Group’s investment arm SDHS Capital, Aspex, Hong Kong-based asset manager Hermitage Capital, China Securities, and Yuantai Changqing Fund.
Horizon will use the fresh funds to expedite its autonomous vehicle oriented chips research and commercialisation.
The company, a Chinese rival to the US-based Nvidia, has been focused on creating intelligent AI chips for smart mobility, surveillance cameras, and other smart devices. Set up in 2015, the designer has leveraged AI technologies delivering new generation solutions comprising autonomous driving, in-cabin comfort and safety, and delivery robots.
The latest funding has brought the total funds raised in its Series C round to $550 million, the startup said in a WeChat post. In December last year, Horizon was in the market seeking over $700 million for its Series C round.
The first tranche, or Series C1 round, of $150 million was jointly led by 5Y Capital (formerly known as Morningside Venture Capital), GL Ventures, Capital Today, and Meituan.
Before its Series C round, Horizon had closed six rounds of funding from marquee investors comprising DST Global, Temasek-backed Vertex Ventures China, Intel Capital, Hillhouse Capital, Korean KTB, Sequoia Capital China, and Sinovation Ventures, among others.
China has a thriving AI chip industry as the government expects to invest about $1.5 trillion in the country’s semiconductor sector by 2025.
On Jan 5, Shanghai-based AI startup Enflame also hit the headlines when it closed a 1.8 billion yuan ($279 million) Series C round co-led by CITIC Private Equity Funds Management, CICC Capital’s sub-fund, and Primavera Capital.