Exclusive: Goldman-Backed AI Unicorn 4Paradigm Mulls IPO

Technology Author: EqualOcean News May 08, 2021 06:20 PM (GMT+8)

The company may opt for the Shanghai bourse's Star Market over a listing in the United States.


According to a person close to the story, Beijing-based AI unicorn 4Paradigm is currently at the late stage of preparation for its initial public offering. 

Founded in 2014, 4Paradigm's growth has been boosted by China's AI investment craze. It has since built a solid reputation in the fintech field by developing AI-powered application scenarios. In January 2021, 4Paradigm closed the Pre-IPO financing round of USD 700 million led by Primavera Capital, Hopu Fund and Boyu Capital and followed by Sequoia China, Goldman Sachs, to name a few. That was by far the largest venture capital injection in an AI startup in 2021. As a result of that deal, 4Paradigm was valued at USD 3.5 billion, or less than 50% of its close peer SenseTime's valuation.

After billions of dollars poured on the sector, AI companies have been under pressure from both public and investors. From Megvii's suspended Hong Kong IPO application to the recent Yitu Technology's Star Market submission withdrawal, China's 'Four AI Tigers' are yet to be available for public investors. However, this gives a chance to smaller AI companies to bide their time and find the niche market.

4Paradigm's founder – Wenyuan Dai – worked for Baidu prior to founding the company. He claimed for times in the public that 4Paradigm carries the vision 'AI for Everyone.' In the past few years, the company introduced state-owned commercial bank investors including ICBC, CCB and BOC, as well as a few state-owned funds. The shareholder background further helps the company to build its strength in the financial field.

Meanwhile, the unicorn has been exploring opportunities outside fintech, given the intensifying competition with players including Tongdun Technology, Bairong and IceKredit. 4Paradigm has been bringing AI capabilities to healthcare, governance, manufacturing and more sectors – overall making a full-spectrum AI platform that resembles those of the 'four tigers.'