Chinese AI Start-Up Megvii Nets $750 Million In Series D Round


Chinese artificial intelligence (AI) start-up Megvii Inc., also known as Face++, said on Wednesday it has raised US$750 million in its latest funding round.

The company said it completed the second phase of the series D round, which totaled US$750 million, said Megvii in a statement released on its WeChat official account. The new investment took Megvii’s valuation to slightly over US$4 billion as it plans to float shares in Hong Kong later this year, said two sources with knowledge of the matter in a Reuters report.

Bank of China Group Investment (BOCGI) Ltd, the private equity unit of the state bank, a wholly-owned subsidiary of sovereign wealth fund Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Australian investment bank Macquarie Group, and ICBC Asset Management (Global) Co, all poured money into the new round as strategic investors, said Megvii.

Megvii, founded in October 2011, operates a face detection, recognition, and analysis platform for websites, mobile apps, and smart televisions. The company offers solutions for face detection and tracking, facial point detection, smile analysis, gender/age/race analysis, face verification, face recognition, and large-scale face search. Its clients include Alibaba, Ant Financial, Foxconn Technology Group, Lenovo, China Resources, and China CITIC Bank.

The proceeds will be mainly used to strengthen Megvii’s deep learning technology, speed up the commercialization of its AI-enabled solutions, recruit more AI talent, and finance its global expansion, according to the statement.

Including the new round, the Beijing-based company has raised a total of five funding rounds. Previously, Megvii completed a US$460 million series C round led by China State-Owned Assets Venture Investment Fund in October 2017, with the participation of Ant Financial and Foxconn Technology Group.

The company also secured US$47 million in a series B round from venture capital firms Qiming Venture Partners and Sinovation Ventures in August 2015.

 
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