Baidu-backed SandStar raises Series B led by Guopeng, Mobai Capital

Picture of CapitaMall Yuhuating in Changsha, China (Source: CapitaLand Retail China Trust Management Limited website)

China’s Baidu Ventures-backed AI startup SandStar (formerly known as YI Tunnel) has raised an undisclosed investment in Series B funding round led by Guopeng Capital and Mobai Capital, according to an announcement.

This round brings the total funding of the company to $25 million. SandStar was backed by Baidu Ventures, Kinzon Capital and Fengshion Capital in the previous rounds.

The fresh funding will be used by the company to accelerate its global expansion plans.

Founded in 2017, SandStar uses computer vision and AI-powered big data analysis to digitize offline data in retail scenes. The startup has developed 4 product lines: AI vending machine, AI check-out machine, pure computer vision unmanned store and smart store analysis.

The company claims that its business launched in 11 countries, serving over 20 Fortune 500 companies globally to build the AI retail ecosystem. The team has over 220 tech experts now.

SandStar also provides AI-powered analytics to digitize offline data and help retailers make intelligent decisions, including product selection, pricing, promotion strategy, etc.

Recently, China’s search engine giant Baidu said on Tuesday it will invest 1.44 billion yuan in artificial intelligence firm Neusoft Holdings, with a view to collaborating in sectors such as smart cities and healthcare.

Guopeng Capita provides financial services such as private equity, industry funds, financial advisory, international business, financial leasing and investment management. It mainly focuses on investment opportunities in TMT, finance, health, cultural industries and emerging technologies.

Founded as a fintech corporation from Kansas City, Mobile Capital Group offers financial wellness solutions to inform and educate employees and promote better financial decisions.

These services include funds to help offset the cost of high-deductible healthcare plans and help pay for unexpected, emergency expenses.

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.