Tech-Internet M&A and Investment Database

Be kept informed of the latest tech deals. Get up-to-the-minute analysis about the day’s most interesting fundings and exits. Internet DealBook is a database that tracks the latest angel, VC, private-equity investment and M&A activities across Internet- and technology-related private companies all around the world.

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AI facial recognition startup CloudWalk Technology raises $75 million Series B

Commentary

Last week, CloudWalk Technology raised $75 million from several investors, including lead investors Shunwei Capital, Puhua Capital, and Oriza Holdings.  The company focuses on AI facial recognition and its offerings consist of biometrics recognition systems, smart door facial scanners, and binocular detection machines. Their applications can be found in over 100 financial offices, in 80% of airports, and in 23 provincial police departments in China. The startup has seen a huge demand for this type of technology from public entities such as the Bank of China and Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).  What is promising is CloudWalk Technology’s interplay with the IoT space as it works with the National Development and Reform Commission’s (NDRC) smart AI Infrastructure Public Service Platform.  The facial recognition market in China is one of the world’s largest as it exceeded 1 billion yuan in 2016. This doesn’t seem surprising at all with the government’s bid to make China the AI global leader by 2030. 

Star Wars robot-maker Ubtech raises $400 million at unicorn valuation 

Commentary

Shenzhen-based Ubtech scored the biggest funding round last week. It raised a $400 million Series C round led by tech giant Tencent at a $4 billion to a $5 billion valuation.  But the unicorn robotics company isn’t geared for industrial automation.  Instead, it’s driven to create humanoid robots to the consumer market.  Since 2012, Ubtech has developed consumer robotic products like the Alpha family entertainment robot series and Jimu educational robot kits. Ubtech’s latest creation is a Star Wars Stormtrooper Robot, which is equipped with voice command and facial recognition features. The company has also helped building Amazon’s intelligent robot Lynx. According to International Federation of Robotics (IFR), the household robotic market is projected to grow to $22.4 billion in 2019. 

Air taxi Volocopter takes off with €5 million funding for urban mobility

Commentary

After its Dubai test flight last September, Volocopter raised €5 million in another funding round led by Intel and btov Partners. Volocopter draws deep inspiration from rising urbanization for its alternative mobility carrier. The Volocopter 2X aircraft has been designed with features much fitted for an urban air taxi – ultralight, quiet, electric, and it allows for a vertical takeoff, which enables a runway-free takeoff.  Moreover, its intelligent system can facilitate air-taxi hailing services with the use of smartphones.  Recently, developments in the aero-tech space have sparked interest and demand in the flying car sector. For example, Dubai’s flying taxi tests form part of the city’s goal to have autonomous cars handling 25% of passenger transport by 2030.  Meanwhile, Uber’s Elevate Summit held last April kicked off its aviation-on-demand project by partnering with Bell Helicopter and Aurora Flight Services, among others. 

Xingbianli raises $57 million for its checkout-free retail platform

Commentary

China’s retail landscape is taking a new face with checkout-free stores like Bingobox, Xiaomai, and F5 Stores having brought in more than $55 million capital since the start of 2017. Last week, Shanghai-based Xingbianli raised $57 million in Series A round following its $14 million angel funding just last September.  But what sets Xingbianli apart to lead the competition is its targeted marketing combined with urbanized coverage. Currently, it runs eight checkout-free convenience stores and over 10,000 unmanned snack bars deployed in offices, including Internet companies like Alibaba, Baidu, and Ctrip, which are situated across 15 cities in China. Xingbianli’s retail platform which allows customers to shop with a QR account code and payment options via Alipay and WeChat Pay is also well supported by the team’s solid competencies in supply chain and big data. The advanced shopping technology is something investors are banking on in China’s new retail sector which generated revenues of $23 billion in 2016 alone.