This is part of a seven-part series on China's VC investment in Q3 2022. This series features firms spanning seven industries, including automaking, healthcare, new consumption, intelligent hardware, smart manufacturing, enterprise services and emerging technologies.
For automaking, we at EqualOcean have identified 20 companies worth watching in Q3. The core criterion is to receive venture capital investments of over USD 30 million on average or the equivalent value in CNY in a single round. When compiling the list, we also considered factors such as growth prospects, brand influences and reputation, as well as planned expansions.
From SMEs about to make their mark in the market, to well-established companies that have already raised significant funds and are still seeking further capital injections, here's a list you won't want to miss.
Zhejiang Leapmotor Technologies Co., Ltd (Chinese: 浙江零跑科技股份有限公司), a Chinese smart EV maker, listed on the main board of Hong Kong on September 29. The company totally sold 130 million shares at the price of HKD 48 per share. However, the price ended at HKD 31.90, down 33.5% from its IPO price, which is the worst first day performance for a Hong Kong IPO above $500 million on record. Founded in 2015, the Hangzhou-based smart car manufacturer has completed six rounds of financing, cumulating at least 12 billion CNY. Its institutional investors include Sequoia China (Chinese: 红杉中国), China Capital; Investment Group (Chinese: 中金资本), Hangzhou Municipal Government Venture Capital Fund (Chinese: 杭州市政府创投基金), CTIC Capital (Chinese: 中信资本) and SDIC Chuangyi (Chinese: 国投创益). Leapmotor is the fourth Chinese NEV maker, following NIO, Li Auto, and Xpeng, to go public in Hong Kong.
China's NEV brand NETA auto (Chinese: 哪吒汽车) announced its completion of D3 round of financing exceeding CNY 3 billion on July 21. The investors include lots of well-known investment agents like Shenzhen Capital, Qianhai FOF (Chinese: 前海母基金), Dayone Capital (Chinese: 日初资本) and Insight Capital (Chinese: 瑞丰资本). Neta, aunched in October 2014, is an electric vehicle (EV) brand owned by the Chinese automaker Hozon Auto (Chinese: 合众汽车). It is committed to making high-quality intelligent electric vehicles and the company has developed several industry-leading technologies, including a 'transparent' front pillar, and a 'vehicle vital signs' monitoring system.
EN Plus Technologies
Shenzhen EN Plus Technologies Co., Ltd (Chinese: 深圳驿普乐氏科技有限公司), a charging pile solution provider, closed a C round of financing worth more than tens of millions of USD. This round of financing will be used for research and development investment, upgrading manufacturing capacity and global layout expansion. Founded in 2015, EN Plus Technology focuses on the development of charging pile equipment, technologies and operating platforms. At present, the company provides products covering AC piles, DC piles, charging modules and operation platform systems. Over the past 6 years, the company has exported products to more than 40 countries and regions.
Shenzhen Hengchuang Ruineng Environmental Protection Technology Co., Ltd (Chinese: 深圳市恒创睿能环保科技有限公司), a battery recycling company, completed its B+ financing round worth over CNY 100 million (nearly USD 14.3 million) in September, which was led by GLP-backed Hidden Hill Capita (Chinese: 隐山资本). This round of financing will be mainly used for R&D of power battery echelon utilization, capacity building on retired lithium battery recycling and the development of lithium battery melting-and-extraction technologies. Founded in 2017, Hengchuang Ruineng is a high-tech enterprise deeply engaged in the recycling and comprehensive utilization of retired power batteries, with a focus on the echelon utilization of lithium batteries and battery material recycling technologies.
On September 7, the Suzhou-based auto tech company Itimotor (Chinese: 英特模) completed its round C equity financing of hundreds of millions of CNY. This round of financing was led by Eastern Bell Capital (Chinese: 钟鼎资本) and followed by Oriza Holdings (Chinese 元禾控股), Suzhou fund (Chinese: 苏州基金) and blue Lake Capital (Chinese: 蓝湖资本).The funds will mainly be used for research and development of intelligent driving and hydrogen energy, the establishment of hydrogen energy testing centers, capacity expansion of new energy testing centers, as well as team recruitment and product promotion.
On July 8, auto sensor system supplier Autoroad (Chinese: 行易道) received hundreds of millions of CNY from its C+ round of financing. The investors include CITIC Capital (Chinese: 中信建投) and Beijing E-town Fund (Chinese: 北京亦庄芯创基金). Autoroad, founded in 2014, is a high-tech innovative enterprise of core sensor systems for intelligent driving. This round of financing will further enhance the company's ability to develop in domestic and foreign markets, continue to expand the size of the research and development team, improve organizational capabilities and support mass production ramp up, to ensure the company's product delivery ability.
On August 2, Trinova Technology (Chinese: 英创汇智), China's auto parts supplier for autonomous driving, raised hundreds of millions of CNY through the B+ round of funding. The funds would be mainly used in construction of manufacturing base and mass production of product. This round of financing was led by Hengxu Capital (Chinese: 恒旭资本) under SAIC Group (Chinese:上汽集团) and Ruicheng Fund (Chinese: 瑞丞基金) under Chery Group (Chinese:奇瑞集团), with the participation of some well-known institutions such as Shanghai Guohe Capital (Chinese: 上海国和), Yichen Capital (Chinese: 亿宸资本), Tsinghua Holdings Capital (Chinese: 华控基金), CITIC Capital (Chinese: 中信建投), and Zhongnuo Fund (Chinese: 中诺协同). Trinova Technology, founded in 2013, is an auto parts manufacturer providing high-performance automotive wire control systems and intelligent safety technology for autonomous driving. With in-depth cooperation with domestic OEMs, Trinova Technology takes the lead in realizing the development and verification of the national production scheme of core components in China, which moves forward to the integrated innovation on NEV chassis.
On August 15, Chinese ride-hailing service SAIC Mobility (Chinese: 享道出行) has raised nearly CNY 1 billion in its Series B round of financing from investors, including SAIC Motor Group (Chinese: 上汽集团), Momenta (Chinese:魔门塔), Gaohang Management Consulting (Chinese:高行管理咨询), and other institutions. After the completion of this round of financing, SAIC Mobility will continuously promote the explosive growth of all-scenario businesses. It strives for the corporate development goal of being the first in both compliance rate and market share and will prepare for a potential initial public offering (IPO) in due course.
On July 11, Autowise.ai (Chinese: 仙途智能), a leading company providing autonomous driving technology, announced that it has completed a B2 round of financing of CNY 200 million. The investors include Shanshan Venture Capital (Chinese: 杉杉创投)、OP Crypto Capital (Chinese:欧普资本) , its old equity-holder SkyChee Venture Capital (Chinese:天奇资本), and founder Huang Chao (Chinese: 黄超). Autowise.ai, a Shanghai-based Chinese AI company, has autonomous driving sweeper licenses in multiple Chinese cities, including Shanghai, Beijing, Xiamen, Hangzhou, Wuhan and Suzhou. In addition, it is the first autonomous vehicle to wade into the European market providing vehicles to the ALBA Group, a German recycling company.This round of financing will mainly be used for autonomous driving technology R&D and the domestic and overseas markets expansion.
On August 26, Sunwoda (Chinese:欣旺达), a high-tech enterprise focusing on the development of lithium-ion battery cells and modules, recently completed a new round of financing worth CNY 6 billion from investors including Li Auto (Chinese: 理想汽车), SAIC Motor (Chinese: 上汽集团) and GAC (Chinese: 广汽集团). Founded in 2014, the company is dedicated to providing electric vehicle battery-system solutions for NEV enterprises worldwide.
On August 2, Avatr (Chinese: 阿维塔), a high-end intelligent electric vehicle manufacturer, completed its A round of financing worth CNY 2.58 billion (USD 0.36 billion), which is expected in product R&D and brand expansion. This round of financing was led by National Green Development Fund(Chinese: 国家绿色发展基金), followed by Shenzhen City China Merchants Jintai Capital (Chinese: 招商金台), Sdic Juli Investment Management (Chinese: 国投聚力), Inno-Chip (Chinese: 韦豪创芯), CITIC-New Future Fund (Chinese: 中信新未来), China Chang'an Automobile Group (Chinese: 长安汽车), and Southern Capital (Chinese: 南方资产). Avatr was co-founded by China Chang'an Automobile Group (Chinese: 长安汽车), Huawei (Chinese: 华为), and CATL (Chinese: 宁德时代) in 2018. Huawei is responsible for the development of the self-driving and smart cockpit software systems, while CATL provides the power battery technologies. After this round of financing, Avatar’s total financing scale is nearly CNY 5 billion, and the post-investment valuation is nearly CNY 10 billion.
Qiyuan Green Power
On August 18, Qiyuan Green Power (Chinese:上海启源芯动力), a Shanghai-based zero-carbon green energy transportation integrated service provider, received CNY 1 billion from its A round of financing. It is reported that lots of professional and industry chain related investors have stepped in this project and this is the largest single equity financing since the establishment of Qiyuan Green Power. Qiyuan Green Power, subsidiary of China's State Power Investment Corporation, is focused on green electricity transport and masters in battery replacement technology. It has laid out approximately 100 power stations for heavy trucks in 31 provinces national wide.
After this round of financing, Qiyuan Green Power will continue to increase product R&D investment, further integrate the upstream and downstream resources of the industrial chain, promote the process of battery replacement technology.
On August 23, DeepWay (Chinese: 北京京深深向科技有限公司), a smart electric commercial vehicle developer and manufacturer, recieved CNY 460 million from its A round of financing, which was led by Qiming Venture Partners (Chinese: 启明创投). The other participators include Lenovo Capital (Chinese: 联想创投), Vlight Capital (Chinese: 光跃投资)、CCB Trust (Chinese: 建信信托), THE Capital (Chinese: 慕华科创), CETC Fund (Chinese: 中电基金), BOCOM International (Chinese: 交银国际) and HUAGAI Capital (Chinese: 华盖资本). CICC served as the sole financial advisor for this round of financing. Deepway, as a new brand of Baidu's layout in the trunk logistics freight track, is committed to the R&D and manufacturing of smart heavy trucks and promote the commercialization of L4 level automatic driving technology in the trunk logistics freight scene. With the support of financing fund, DeepWay will continue to promote the R&D of new energy heavy trucks and accelerate the iteration process of autonomous driving technology
PhiGent Robotics (Chinese:鉴智机器人), a self-driving solution provider, announced its closing of A+ round of financing worth hundreds of millions of CNY on August 15. This round of financing was co-led by Shenzhen Capital (Chinese: 深创投) and Houxue Fund (Chinese: 厚雪基金). GSR Ventures (Chinese: 金沙江创投) continued to increase holdings. In addition, strategic investor Horizon Robotics has provided strong support in the commercial implementation. The money will be mainly used for technology development, mass production implementation and wider commercial deployment. Founded in 2021, PhiGent Robotics focuses on the R&D of autonomous driving solutions with 3D vision as the core.
On July 8, BICV (Chinese: 北斗星通智联科技), an ICV product supplier, announced its completion of A round of fiancing amounted to CNY 280 million, which was led by CICC (Chinese: 中金资本) , followed by Zhilai Capital (Chinese: 知来资本) and Houda Capital(Chinese: 厚达资本). BICV, founded in 2019, is a high-tech enterprise providing intelligent cockpit, smart driving and other Internet connected products to OEMs. The fund will be mainly used in R&D of new technologies, exploring key customers, absorbing high-level talents, and other business aspects.
SiEngine Technology (Chinese: 芯擎科技), a start-up company focused on advanced automotive system-on-a-chip designs, raised nearly CNY 1 billion from its A round of financing on July 21. This round of finance was led by Sequoia Capital China (Chinese: 红杉中国). Other participating investors include Cedarlake Capital (Chinese: 沄柏资本), YUE XIU Industrial Investment Fund Management (Chinese: 越秀产业基金), ICBC International (Chinese: 工银国际) and Neusoft Capital (Chinese: 东软资本). Established in 2018 and based in Wuhan, SiEngine is a joint venture funded by UK semiconductor and software company Arm Ltd's China joint venture, ARM China, and Geely-backed ECARX Holdings. The proceeds from this latest funding round will enable SiEngine to enhance the delivery of existing products and increase the next-phase R&D of auto-grade chips with high computing power.
BeBest-Shanghai (Chinese: 比博斯特), an intelligent chassis solution provider, completed nearly CNY 100 million Pre-A and Plus round of financing on August 25. This round is led by Sequoia China Seed Fund, followed by Shanghai Highlight Capital and Atom Smart Transportation Industry Fund. Founded in May 2021, the firm received an angel round of investment worth tens of millions of yuan from Atom Ventures and Atom Intelligent Transportation Industry Fund at the beginning of its establishment.
On July 28, LinearX (Chinese: 零念科技), a Shanghai-based auto mobility technology developer, completed its pre-A round of financing exceeding CNY 100 million. This round of financing was led by Broad Vision Funds (Chinese: 博华资本) and Shenzhen Capital (Chinese: 深创投), followed by its three old equity holders, namely Great Filter Venture (Chinese: 达武创投), Tencent Investment (Chinese: 腾讯投资), and Oriental Fortune Capital (Chinese: 东方富海). Established in August 2021, LinearX is dedicated to building safe and real-time in-vehicle middle-tier platform software, realizing reliable data transmission of heterogeneous chips through self-developed dual communication middleware. After this round of financing, the majority money raised will be mainly used in introduction of talent, technology R&D, product iteration and market expansion.
Guorun Energy Storage
Guorun Energy Storage (Chinese: 国润储能), a start-up company founded in 2020 and based in Suzhou, closed its angle round of financing worth over CNY 50 million in August. This round of financing was led by Linge Venture Capital (Chinese: 麟阁创投), followed by Unifortune (Chinese: 乾道基金), TusStar Angel Invest (Chinese: 启迪之星创投), ShuiMu Tsinghua Alumn Capital (Chinese: 水木清华校友种子基金) and Innoangel Fund (Chinese: 英诺天使基金). The company focuses on the production of all-vanadium flow battery equipment and core diaphragm materials for flow batteries, water electrolysis for hydrogen production and hydrogen fuel cells.
On August 18, Chip Lego (Chinese: 芯砺智能) announced that it has obtained nearly CNY 300 million angel round in half a year. The investors include Ehe Capital (Chinese: 亦合资本), Matrix Partners China (Chinese: 经纬创投) and Summit View Capital (Chinese: 武岳峰科创). Founded in November 2021, Chip Lego is headquartered in Shanghai and has several R&D centers around the world. According to the firm’s official website, Chip Lego is the first high-tech start-up in the world to use Chiplet technology to develop in-vehicle large computing chip, and is committed to becoming a global leader in intelligent vehicle platform chip