Sequoia Capital leads $60m funding in Chinese AI startup Aibee

Artificial intelligence and robotics converge.

Beijing-headquartered Aibee, an artificial intelligence (AI)-focused technology company, has raised $60 million in a Series A funding round led by Sequoia Capital and Red Star Macalline, China’s furniture retail chain, the Finance Asia reported on Tuesday.

Others investors in the round included Lenovo Capital and Incubator Group, China Renaissance, K2 Ventures, Zhongli Fund Management and C Ventures.

With the latest investment round, the total funding raised by Aibee has reached over $10 million.

Also known as AI2B, the year-old Aibee was founded by Dr Yuanqing Lin with an aim to upgrade vertical industries through AI total solutions such as the development of computer vision speech recognition, natural language understanding, image identification and big data analytics.

Aibee’s technology solutions are used in the retail industry to help retailers improve operational efficiency and reduce cost.

Lin was formerly the deep learning head at Chinese search engine Baidu, which is targeting to become a global AI developer. The departure of Lin was a huge set back for Baidu’s AI plans. Aibee has also roped in Zhu Shenghuo, former lead scientist with Alibaba’s Academy for Discovery, Adventure, Momentum and Outlook, to take over the firm’s machine learning business.

Silicon Valley-based Sequoia Capital was an early investor in leading technology companies like Apple, Oracle, Google, YouTube and Airbnb. It has also made bets on AI-focused companies like UK’s artificial intelligence chip producer Graphcore and Israeli startup Skyline AI that uses AI to help real estate investors.

For Red Star Macalline, that operates about 267 furniture malls in China, the investment in Aibee means leveraging on the technology of Aibee for an improved efficient and reduction of cost.

Other investors in Aibee include KinzonCapital, Zhen Fund, China Growth Capital, Yonghua Capital, Sparkle VC and Horizon Robotics.

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