Shenzhen-based autonomous driving company AutoX announced the closure of a Pre-Series B round worth tens of millions of dollars, following a USD 100 million Series A announced last September. The last deal was closed in December 2019.
Hongzhao Capital, the lead investor in the new round, also followed the path of a series of high-profile Venture Capital firms like Legend Star and Shenzhen Capital Group into LeSee's Series A round of funding in 2016. LeSee, an automotive division under LeEco Holing Group, become notorious when the company failed to show a new car model at the end of 2016 and went bankrupt.
For instance, Pony.ai raised a round of strategic investment worth USD 50 million in April 2019, which was smaller than its USD 102 million Series A+ announced in July 2018. Momenta, another prominent player in the field, has not disclosed any funding information since its staggering USD 200 million Series C in October 2018. In this new, Pre-Series B round, the amount of capital raised was less than that of its latest funding event (Series A+) when the auto startup AutoX banked USD 100 million.
AutoX was founded in 2016 by Xiao Jianxiong. It has raised money from Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund and Dongfeng Motor Corporation. Regarding tech direction, the company adopts the sensor-fusion approach that combines real-time camera-vision, sensors, radars and lidars with computer vision technology, which is low-cost compared with the lidar approach. On the other hand, the company focuses on two businesses: passenger car ‘Robotaxi’ and commercial car ‘Robo-Delivery.’
As one of the autonomous driving starting logistics business in China, AutoX has strategic partners such as ZTO Express and Meituan Dianping, which eyed delivery capacity as the core competence needed to mature the industry in future. In 2018, the company was already using self-driving vehicles to deliver groceries in California.
Besides, AutoX is testing its autonomous cars in four Chinese cities: Shenzhen, Shanghai, Zhaoqing and Guangzhou. Along with Pony.ai and California-based Zoox, AutoX obtained the license to offer robotaxis in the state of California, according to a notice published on the website of California Public Utilities Commission earlier this year.
In cooperation with Fiat Chrysler (FCA), AutoX is set to roll out what they say is the first “hardware ready” RoboTaxi for the Asia market, as AutoX announced in CES 2020.