On May 8, Megvii (旷视科技), a leading AI start-up, closes D series funding of USD 750 million, and the investors including BOCGI, one wholly-owned subsidiary of ADIA, Macquarie Group and Lcbc Capital Management (Global) Co., Ltd. This funding raises Megvii’s valuation to slightly over USD 4 billion as it prepares for an initial public offering in Hong Kong planned for later this year, said two sources with knowledge of the matter.
This funds will be mainly used to strengthen Megvii's technology development in the field of deep learning to provide better products and solutions for more clients, as well as promote its business in the global. In addition, Megvii will use this funds to recruit more top AI talents.
YIN Qi (印奇), the co-founder and CEO of Megvii, said in an interview that:
We are very excited and welcome the new investors in this funds, which will help to promote Megvii's development in the next stage of growth. We have faith on Megvii with its strategy and potential. Megvii focuses on creating more innovative AI products to solve more problems in various industries and society. With the help of our investors and customers, we will become a global leading company in the field of AI and IoT to promote industrial development.
Launched in 2011, Megvii has raised for more than USD 13 million with 7 rounds of funding in the past of 7 years. One of its core product is Face++, an artificial intelligence platform with many functions, including face detection, face analysis, face recognition, image identification, OCR, character identification, etc. Megvii provides Face++ service to its customers by API or SDK, and Face++ has been adopted by hunderds of clients from finance, education, moblie phone, auto and advertise industries.
However, Face++ is not the core contributor for its revenue, but the government. In the Skynet Project and Xueliang Project led by Chinese government, numerous of the smart surveillance cameras leveraged by face recognition are being purchased and equipped by government in these years, and Megvii is one of the main suppliers. Its annual revenue in 2017 was around CNY 700 million (USD 103.23 million), and the smart surveillance cameras business contributed for 70%. In 2018, its annual revenue reached USD 265 million, and this number is expected to reach USD 500 million in 2019, according to EO Company and employees of Megvii.
Apart from its AI products and solutions, Megvii also develop IoT solutions for logistics supply chain. In January of this year, Megvii launched its robotic system namely Hetu, which can boost efficiency in the logistics sector. The Hetu system is already being used in warehouses run by Tmall, and coordinated 500 warehouse robots to boost efficiency by 40 percent.