Business Startups Venture

China’s Horizon Robotics Raises Outsized $600M Series B At $3B Valuation

Horizon Robotics, a Chinese AI semiconductor unicorn, has raised a massive $600 million Series B that takes its valuation to $3 billion, according to an announcement from the company.

The latest round follows an October 2017, Intel Capital-led $100 million Series A.

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SK China, SK Hynix, and “several” automotive groups and their investment vehicles led the Series B. Other strategic partners and investors that participated in the round include Hong Kong’s CMBC Capital, CLSA’s CSOBOR Fund, and Oceanpine Capital. Existing shareholders, including Morningside Venture Capital and Hillhouse Capital (among others) also put money into the deal.

In its press release, Horizon Robotics CEO and founder Yu Kai, said the company is focused on “edge” AI processors and computing tools aimed at “enabling autonomous driving, smart cities and smart robotics.” Considering its investor base, it’s not surprising that Horizon describes itself as “one of the largest investment cases in artificial intelligence for automobile companies.”

The company said it plans to use its latest raise toward continued product and technology development but didn’t get more specific.

Horizon’s press release was quite technical, so for those eager to know more about those sort of details, feel free to peruse it here.

Meanwhile, investors naturally seem bullish on what the company’s doing. In the written statement, SK China President Wu Zuoyi said Horizon has “unparalleled technology supported by product capabilities and world-class talents.”

Horizon is not the only robotics company to raise a mega round as of late. Earlier this month, Mountain View-based Nuro, a developer of robot delivery vans, announced it had raised $940 million in financing from the SoftBank Vision Fund.

We chose to cover Horizon’s round due to its scale and investor cohort. It’s the sort of deal that we see, shake our head at, and wonder how it was constructed. While technically a Series B, the event is also large enough to constitute several Series B-focused funds. It follows in the path of a wave of giant rounds raised in the last several years. Many of those rounds were raised by China-based companies, like Horizon.

With a $3 billion valuation, Horizon has huge revenue and profit shoes to fill. With a fresh $600 million round under its belt, it has the capital to meet those expectations. Perhaps.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias