China’s AI up-and-comer, Aibee (爱笔), announces completion of its A1 round of funding, pulling in USD 74 million. Lead investors are ClearVue Partners (锴明投资) and SPC (芯动能投资). Kinzon Capital (昆仲资本) was the previous lead investor when Aibee was still an angel back in January 2018. In the two years since then, Aibee’s total funding has surpassed USD 170 million and it’s still an early-stage startup. According to ITjuzi, Aibee’s valuation is now at USD 740 million, putting them on a clear unicorn trajectory.
How did this two-year-old startup manage to attract so much investment before even reaching their Series B? Its hotshot, industry veteran founder, Lin Yuanqing (林元庆), may have something to do with it. Dr. Lin Yuanqing is, amongst many other prestigious titles, the former president of the Baidu Research Institute who has an extensive background in the field of AI research.
In essence, Aibee’s purpose is to seek out more effective ways to commercialize and cater AI technologies to other (i.e. retail) businesses. Aibee seeks to upgrade and provide solutions for different vertical industries (mostly retail-oriented) using applications of advanced and innovative AI technology. Such applications can come in the form of computer vision, speech recognition, natural language processing, big data analysis, robotics, and so on. Such solutions can significantly speed efficiency, improve productivity, and add more value for their clients from targeted vertical industries.