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Pony.ai, the robotaxi startup that operates in China and the United States, has started testing driverless vehicles on public roads in California ahead of plans to launch a commercial service there in 2022. The company has become the first to get fully driverless automated vehicles on public roads in both the U.S. and China. IDG Capital was a seed investor in Pony.ai and also joined a $112 million Series A funding round in 2018.
Luminar Technologies, a LIDAR sensor maker based in Silicon Valley, has unveiled its “Blade” self-driving sensor architecture, a blueprint that vehicle makers can follow for integrating lidar sensors. With Blade, the company’s Iris lidar sensors and technology are integrated in the roofline of the vehicle, creating a little halo around the top of commercial and passenger vehicles. IDG Capital was an early investor in Luminar when the startup was still under stealth mode.
IDG Capital has led a $120 million Series D round in SaaS-based business service platform Xiaoetong. Founded in 2016, Shenzhen-based Xiaoetong offers customers a suite of digital tools to coordinate brand marketing, digital traffic, and sales channels, with a focus on the WeChat ecosystem. With more than 1.6 million registered customers, the company aims to provide enterprises with a one-stop platform to manage their entire digital operations. Xiaoetong will allocate its fresh funds toward improving its product by strengthening research and development capabilities as well as recruiting operational talent.
Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has teamed up with 401(k) provider ForUsAll to offer crypto investments for retirement accounts. Founded in 2012, ForUsAll provides automated 401(k) administration, menus of low-cost mutual funds, and access to human advisers. The partnership will allow workers to invest up to 5% of their 401(k) contributions in bitcoin, ether, litecoin, and others. IDG Capital was an angel investor in Coinbase in 2013. With $1.7 billion in retirement-plan assets, ForUsAll represents a small piece of the $22 trillion retirement-account market but its embrace of crypto comes at a time of heightened mainstream interest in digital currencies.
Coinbase, a NASDAQ-listed cryptocurrency exchange that charges 1.5% for the privilege of buying and selling bitcoin, has announced that it is launching its own “fact-checking” service as the company wants to publish the truth and build a direct relationship with audience. CEO Brian Armstrong wants to bring “radical transparency” to the crypto sphere and says that this means “companies will increasingly need to be comfortable sharing facts which paint them in a negative light as well”. IDG Capital was an angel investor in Coinbase in 2013.
Circle, a cryptocurrency-based financial service startup, has raised $440 million in new funding. Jeremy Allaire, Circle's chief executive and cofounder, said the company is focused on its U.S. dollar-backed USD Coin, a stablecoin that is meant to maintain a fixed price. USDC, a collaboration with Coinbase, is currently one of the most popular stablecoins used for digital payments across the crypto industry. IDG Capital was the lead investor in Circle’s $50 million Series C and $60 million Series D funding rounds and also helped coordinate the Poloniex acquisition.
Shein, a China-based women's fashion e-commerce platform reaching tens of millions of customers worldwide, has overtaken Amazon as the most downloaded shopping app on iOS and Android in the United States. Shein digitally controls its own production chain, from design and prototype to procurement to manufacturing. This allows the company to churn out hundreds of new products tailored to different regions and user tastes at a daily rate. In 2016, IDG Capital joined Shein's Series B round.
Lime, a San Francisco-based electric scooter and bike-sharing provider, is adding its battery-powered Gen4 scooters to its established e-bike fleet in London. Lime will team up with Transport for London, the city's government transport body, and London Council for the pilot, after it was chosen from a competitive tender process. The e-scooters will be available to book through the Lime app as per usual with the bikes. Previously, IDG Capital joined Lime's Series A funding round.
Nasdaq-listed web browser Opera has launched Opera GX Mobile, the world’s first mobile browser designed specifically for gamers. Opera GX features a control panel that lets users set limits on CPU, RAM and network bandwidth. Mobile users can also utilize the fast action button to quickly access certain functions. As of March, Opera GX had exceeded 9 million monthly active gamers across Windows and Mac. Previously, IDG Capital joined Opera's pre-IPO financing round.
IDG Capital has joined a Series C funding round in WeRide, a Guangzhou-based autonomous driving company. The new funds have brought the company value to $3.3 billion. WeRide’s robotaxi pilot in Guangzhou began in 2019 and it later became the first autonomous driving company in China to secure an official license for online car-hailing operations. WeRide intends to use this funding round to invest in R&D and commercialization as it works toward the next generation of Level 4 driving, in which a vehicle can drive without human intervention in certain conditions.
Pony.ai, an autonomous driving startup based in China and Silicon Valley, and Luminar Technologies, a LIDAR sensor maker also based in Silicon Valley, have formed a partnership to leverage Luminar’s LIDAR sensor on Pony.ai’s next-generation robotaxi. LIDAR, the laser sensor that sends millions of laser points out per second and measures how long they take to bounce back, is seen as a key ingredient to autonomous driving. Pony.ai has also confirmed plans to deploy autonomous fleets across the globe, starting in 2023. IDG Capital is an investor in both Pony.ai and Luminar Technologies.
Nasdaq-listed iQiyi, an online video platform based in Beijing, said the company may be able to turn a profit in five years. iQiyi, which incorporates artificial intelligence to predict viewership and box office, will turn to "intelligent production" to partly help it cut cost and turn a profit in the future. Backed by IDG Capital, iQiyi has expanded from being a video streaming platform to also generating self-produced video content, including drama series and variety shows. The company, which is still trying to boost its subscribers, is also interested in investing in film and television production companies and expanding overseas.
Waterdrop, a Beijing-based online insurance and healthcare crowdfunding company, has raised $360 million in its New York initial public offering under the 'WDH' ticker. By the end of 2020, the company had cooperated with 62 insurance companies to provide 200 kinds of health insurance and life insurance products to users, with a total of more than 140 million users. Waterdrop has also begun to expand into the field of drug and health management and began to test its healthcare businesses. As an angel investor in Waterdrop, IDG Capital has also joined the company’s multiple funding rounds.
Chinese electric vehicle maker Nio has decided to expand overseas and chosen Norway for its first foray into international markets. Nio Norway will offer a European version of ES8, Nio’s flagship electric SUV, to Norwegian customers from September this year. The ET7 sedan will follow in 2022. In addition to vehicle sales, the company also detailed plans to open dedicated service centers, vehicle charging stations and its Nio Power Swap battery swapping stations in Norway. Previously, IDG Capital joined NIO's Series B+ funding round. NIO went public on the New York Stock Exchange in 2018.
IDG Capital has participated in a fresh funding for Kelun Biotech, a subsidiary of Shenzhen-listed Kelun Pharmaceutical. Founded in 2016, Kelun Biotech is engaged in producing macromolecular drugs and small-molecular drugs, especially for antibody-drug conjugates. Its flagship candidate SKB264, which targets breast and lung cancers, has received clinical trial approval in China and the US. The company will use the proceeds for innovative drug R&D and commercialization. Kelun Biotech was valued at $696 million before the round.
San Francisco-based electric scooter giant Lime has launched its electric moped service in New York City, the third city to which Lime brings its all-electric mopeds. Safety will be of the utmost importance in launching the company’s line of e-mopeds around the world. Lime is taking possible precaution, such as identity verification and introductory safety video, to keep riders safe, while allowing for the freedom of a quick-on-quick-off rental system. Lime’s expansion is great news for green transportation and a step to reducing congestion. In 2017, IDG Capital joined Lime's Series A funding round.