Investment, Venture Capital

Baidu Ventures Joins $27M Round In New Zealand AI Firm 8i

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Baidu Ventures, Baidu Inc’s US$200 million early-stage investment unit focused on artificial intelligence, has joined a US$27 million series B funding round in 8i, a New Zealand-based AI start-up, according to a company announcement

The round is led by Time Warner Investments, the New York-based investment arm of Time Waner Inc. Baidu Ventures, New York-based Hearst Ventures and Verizon Ventures, Sydney-based OneVentures, Germany-based Seed & Speed Ventures and a number of existing investors also participated in the round.

This marks the first investment Baidu Ventures has made since it was established in October 2016.

Founded in 2014, 8i provides a media platform that enables users to create, experience and share 3D videos of real people, for virtual reality, augmented reality and web users. 8i’s new app Holo will be launched later this year, allowing people to view and interact on a smartphone without a VR or AR headset.

Previously, the company raised a US$13.5 million series A round from San Francisco-based Founders Fund with participation from a number of venture capital firms including Horizons Ventures, Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing’s venture capital fund.

Baidu Ventures focuses on artificial intelligence, virtual reality and augmented reality projects. Last month, Baidu hired Liu Wei, formerly a partner at Legend Holdings’ venture arm Legend Star, as the chief executive officer.


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