Chinese AI major MiningLamp nets $300m Series E round led by Tencent, Temasek

Programming language codes. Source: Markus Spiske/Unsplash

Beijing-based big data and artificial intelligence (AI) major MiningLamp Technology on Friday announced the completion of $300 million in a Series E round of financing led by Chinese gaming and social networking giant Tencent and Singapore’s state-owned investment firm Temasek.

The Series E round attracted capital injection from Chinese online short video startup Kuaishou, said MiningLamp in a statement, adding that the investment will finance its R&D, market expansion, and talent recruitment with an aim to construct its data centre and intelligent marketing platform.

The transaction comes just one year after MiningLamp closed 2 billion yuan ($283 million) in a Series D round led by Tencent in March 2019. Huaxing Growth Capital, the investment unit of Chinese investment bank China Renaissance, Chinese property trust manager AVIC Trust, and Beijing-based Jintuo Capital Investment participated in the previous round.

“With the capital injection, MiningLamp can accelerate our efforts to empower our clients to digitise, helping them successfully transform at a time full of uncertainties,” said MiningLamp founder, chairman and CEO Wu Minghui in the statement.

Named by Beijing as one of the national AI champions in August 2019 to spearhead the country’s innovation efforts in the field, MiningLamp completed the mega-deal against the headwind of a global coronavirus pandemic that has significantly dampened deal-making in China.

According to data compiled by DealStreetAsia, Chinese startups have raised a combined $901.25 million in February 2020, down 44.21 per cent compared to the $1.62 billion recorded in January 2020, largely on account of the impact of the deadly virus that has thrown business activity out of gear and led to far fewer big-ticket funding rounds.

“2020 has been marked by ‘black swans’ [unpredictable or unusual events],” said the company. “Against a subdued macro and venture capital environment, MiningLamp’s fundraising is a strong boost to the enterprise service industry in general and showcases recognition from investors of the company’s capabilities in intelligent and digital transformation.”

Founded in April 2014, MiningLamp started with providing online ad performance evaluation and fraud detection services for advertisers, before focusing on the development of natural language processing (NLP), AI-enabled intelligent recognition and marketing solutions for clients in the fields of public security, finance, retail, smart city, manufacturing, entertainment, among others.

Recently, the company joined a slew of domestic AI counterparts including SenseTime, Yitu Technology, and Deepwise Healthcare to help combat the coronavirus by offering data management and analysis tools for crowd temperature detection, control and management of locked-down communities, and post-pandemic psychological rehabilitation services.

Tencent and Huaxing Growth Capital first invested in MiningLamp in April 2018 by pouring a combined 1 billion yuan ($142 million) into its Series C round. Prior to that, the startup also raised 200 million yuan ($28 million) in a Series B round in August 2016, and 100 million yuan ($14 million) in a Series A round in July 2015.

Some of its earliest investors include Sequoia Capital China, Beijing-based Heaven-Sent Capital Management Group, and Shenzhen-based venture capital firm Share Capital.

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.