Daniel Kirchert, co-founder and chief executive officer of Chinese electric vehicle startup Byton, said on September 9 that the company was about to complete a Series C round of funding, according to iyiou.com.
The EV maker was in talks with institutional investors, aiming to raise in total financing of at least USD 400 million to 500 million. The deal was led by FAW (中国一汽), a leading Chinese car manufacturer, and an industry investment fund under the Nanjing government. Among Series C investors, FAW has already signed an investment agreement with Byton.
The company closed three funding rounds already, prior to the Series C. Harmony Auto Holding Limited (和谐汽车) led corporate funding worth USD 30 million on April 1 in 2016, with the participation of Tencent Holdings Limited and Foxconn. Eight months later, Byton started a Series A funding round, then completed an extended A round on August 7 in 2017, raising USD 230 million from Harmony Auto, Suning Holdings Group and other three institutional investors. On June 11 last year, it took in USD 500 million from FAW and famous battery manufacturer CATL (宁德时代). With new funds injected, Byton has raised more than USD 1 billion, boosting its valuation to USD 4 billion.
“Proceeds will be used for mass production of our first EV model,” said Daniel. “We will be preparing the Series D as soon as Series C is completed as some potential investors could not participate in Series C due to time issues.” He also mentioned that proceeds from the next round would be reserved for mass production of Byton’s second and third EV models.
The delivery date of the company’s first EV model was postponed to the middle of next year, potentially from next March; this is deemed a result of their failure to purchase a China-based FAW subsidiary, FAW Xiali (一汽夏利), in time. This purchase was necessary as a precursor to receiving the necessary qualification to manufacture automobiles in China.
So far, Byton has over 50 thousand global pre-orders, half of which were made in China. The company expects to achieve 100 thousand sales by 2021 and then break even, which is quite challenging under current circumstances.
Byton’s Nanjing factory will be put into production trial mode in October and mass production mode as of the middle of next year. Despite falling behind several EV startups in terms of vehicle making, Byton has been able to bypass traps that startups fell into.