Asian PE Firm SAIF Partners Leads $14M Round In Chinese Automatic Driving Start-Up

VIPioneers, a Chinese start-up providing automatic driving solutions for mining operations, has raised nearly RMB100 million (US$14.55 million) in a series A1 round of financing led by Asian private equity firm SAIF Partners, shows information updated on Chinese business data provider Tianyancha on Wednesday.

Chinese venture capital firm Sigma Square Capital and investment banking advisory firm Hina Group also participated in this round.

VIPioneers, also known as Qingdao Huituo Intelligent Machine Co Ltd, was incubated in 2014 by the Institute of Automation under the national natural sciences academy, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). The start-up focuses on the development of cloud-based automatic driving technology and industrial applications for mining operations. It also develops software for industries including logistics, nuclear power plants, chemical plants, oilfields, industrial parks, airports, and leisure facilities.

The firm has signed commercial contracts worth nearly RMB100 million (US$14.55 million) with mining enterprises in China, according to company statistics obtained by Chinese online publication 36Kr. The firm said that it also formed cooperations with several state-owned energy enterprises to build demonstration areas for the autonomous mining operation.

Proceeds of this round will be used for the commercialization of the company’s smart mining solutions and the deployment of unmanned mining operations.

VIPioneers raised an angel round from Cash Capital, a subsidiary of the Chinese Academy of Science, in September 2017. Financial details of the previous round were undisclosed.