China Digest: Tencent-backed Pudu, Neocrm raise new capital

Visuals from Pudu Technology's website

Tencent-backed Chinese companies Pudu Technology and Neocrm have both garnered new financing to fund their next stage of development.

Tencent-backed Pudu raises Series C2 round

Pudu Technology, a Chinese developer of commercial service robots, has closed the second tranche of its Series C funding round at “hundreds of millions of yuan,” the startup announced on Tuesday.

The Series C2 round, which came four months after the completion of a Series C1 round, brought its total Series C fundraise to almost 1 billion yuan ($155.2 million). In May it had announced a Series C1 round, through which the startup raked in 500 million yuan ($77.6 million) from investors including Chinese food delivery giant Meituan and Sequoia Capital China.

Shenzhen-based Pudu focuses on the design, R&D, production, and sales of commercial service robots, such as interactive delivery and reception robots, that can be used in restaurants, hospitals, schools, office buildings, hotels, airports, and beyond. The startup has over 600 core patents, equipping its robots with technologies like low-speed autonomous driving, robotics motor and motion control, and intelligent interaction.

Founded in 2016, the startup delivers products to more than 60 countries and regions. Its major clients include China’s biggest hotpot chain Haidilao, Peking roast duck restaurant brand Quanjude, property developer Country Garden, Holiday Inn owner IHG, and Marriott International’s semi-luxury hotel chain Sheraton Hotels and Resorts.

Prior to the Series B round, Pudu raised over 100 million yuan ($15.5 million) in a Series B round from Meituan in July 2020. One month later, it closed another 100-million-yuan in a Series B+ round led by Sequoia Capital China.

CRM solutions provider Neocrm closes $70m

Neocrm, a Tencent-backed firm that provides customer relationship management (CRM) solutions, has closed $70 million in a new funding round.

The firm did not disclose the investors of the new round. The new investment followed the completion of its $120-million Series E round from Tencent in September 2019.

It had raised a 100-million-yuan Series D+ round in April 2018 and a 280-million-yuan ($43.5 million) Series D round in January 2017. Investors in the previous rounds include Sequoia Capital China, Matrix Partners China, and ZhenFund.

Neocrm, which also goes by its “Xiaoshouyi (Easy sales)” in Chinese, operates as a subsidiary of Beijing IngageApp Internet Technology providing enterprise-level CRM solutions to help clients automate their marketing, sales, and customer services.

Leveraging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), big data, and Internet of Things (IoT), the firm helps B2B clients build a full-cycle CRM system that connects external distributors, service providers, and end-users. Its solutions also help bridge B2C businesses with their customers to enable targeted marketing and customer acquisition. The firm also has multi-language and multi-currency capabilities to support enterprises in their global business expansion.

Its products are adopted by companies in areas like automobile, finance, and retail, serving clients including personal computer firm Lenovo, electric power firm Shanghai Electric, video surveillance manufacturer Hikvision, French electrical equipment group Schneider Electric, Beijing-based electric scooter maker Segway-Ninebot Group, and nuts and roasted foods business Chacha Food.

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.