In their rush to offer alternatives to advanced Western chipsets, Chinese semiconductor companies are raising large funds from investors. Horizon Robotics, A five-year-old unicorn who specializes in AI chips for robots and autonomous vehicles announced Tuesday that it has raised $ 150 million in funding.
The proceeds are the first to complete a Series C round valued at over $ 700 million that Horizon is seeking to raise. The partial financing is jointly managed by well-known investors such as 5Y Capital (formerly Morningside Venture Capital), Hillhouse Capital and Capital Today. The international branch of the Chinese broker Guotai Junan and KTB Network, an investment company of the Korean conglomerate KTB.
The round took place less than two years after completing the $ 600 million Series B round, in which the company was worth $ 3 billion after the money and which also featured prominent Korean financiers, including SK China, the Chinese subsidiary of the conglomerate SK Group, and SK Hynix, the semiconductor unit from SK.
Founded by a Baidu veteran, the startup raised over $ 100 million in its Series A round led by Intel Capital in late 2017.
With the fresh capital, Horizon plans to accelerate the development and commercialization of its automotive chips and autonomous driving solutions. The aim is also to build an “open ecosystem” for industrial partners.
In recent years, China has sought to reduce reliance on western chip giants in sectors from smartphones to vehicles. Local startups such as Horizon Robotics and Black Sesame Technologies as well as the telecommunications institution Huawei are investing resources in autonomous driving processors to match or overtake the technologies of Nvidia and Intel Mobileye.
According to the company, Horizon's OEM and Tier 1 auto partners include Audi, Bosch, Continental, SAIC Motor and BYD.
75% of ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance System) cars and Level 3 vehicles (autonomous driving under certain circumstances) in China will be supported by Chinese suppliers by 2030, compared to 20% in 2019 for projects by investment bank CITIC Securities.