Intel Capital, the corporate venture capital arm of Intel Corporation, has backed a Series A+ round in Chinese computer chips maker Horizon Robotics. The round is expected to total about $100 million upon completion, the investor said in a statement.
The funding to the Chinese firm is part of the latest tranche of investments worth $60 million in 15 global startups announced by Intel Capital. The only other Asian startup to make the list was Tokyo’s LeapMind, which provides deep learning research and software as a service (SaaS). The latest tranche brings Intel Capital’s year-to-date investments to more than $566 million.
Horizon Robotics, which aims to build a prototype driverless car that can park itself, will use the latest fund infusion to expand its R&D and engineering team. Other investors in its Series A+ round include Harvest Investments, Hillhouse Capital, Wu Capital, Linear Ventures and Morningside Venture Capital.
“Intel is playing an active role in supporting companies that are driving technology innovation in China. Horizon Robotics has attracted a talented and experienced team in Artificial Intelligence (AI) with deep expertise in applications such as autonomous driving and human machine interface (HMI),” said Daniel McNamara, corporate vice president and general manager of the Programmable Solutions Group at Intel Corporation. McNamara will join the Horizon Robotics board.
LeapMind raised over $10 million in a Series B round led by Intel Capital and joined by GMO VenturePartners, Visionnaire Ventures, Itochu Technology Ventures, NTT DATA Corporation, Innovative Venture Fund Investment and Archetype Ventures.
The deep learning startup plans to use the funds for active R&D for both software and hardware applications, recruitment and employee retention, and business development and expanding sales operations, an Intel Capital statement said.
The other additions to Intel’s portfolio include Amenity Analytics, Bigstream, Synthego, AdHawk Microsystems, Trace, Bossa Nova Robotics, EchoPixel, Reniac, TileDB Inc, Alcide, Eclypsium, Intezer, and Synack. The startups focus on artificial intelligence, 3D medical visualization, robots for retail, and cybersecurity inspired by the human immune system, among other technologies.
“The world is undergoing a data explosion,” said Wendell Brooks, Intel senior vice president and president of Intel Capital.
“By 2020, every autonomous vehicle on the road will create 4 TB of data per day. A million self-driving cars will create the same amount of data every day as 3 billion people. As Intel transitions to a data company, Intel Capital is actively investing in startups across the technology spectrum that can help expand the data ecosystem and pathfind important new technologies,” Brooks said.