SenseTime, China’s leading artificial intelligence (AI) company, became the highest-valued AI startup in the world, by raising US $600 million in its Series C round of funding.
One of the major investors who led the funding was China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, with other significant participants including Temasek, a funding company from Singapore, and Suning, a Chinese consumer electronics retailer.
Founded in 2014, SenseTime focuses on innovative computer vision and deep learning technologies. One of the largest AI platform companies in China, SenseTime is delivering several AI-based technologies, including facial and image recognition, autonomous driving, medical imaging and deep learning hardware optimization.
“SenseTime is doing pioneering work in artificial intelligence. We are especially impressed by their R&D capabilities in deep learning and visual computing. Our business at Alibaba is already seeing tangible benefits from our investments in AI and we are committed to further investment. Our strategic partnership with SenseTime will spark more innovation and create value for society,” said Joe Tsai, Executive Vice Chairman of Alibaba Group.
The deep learning supercomputing platform of SenseTime that has staggering 8000 GPUs, support the development of AI models and training of images. The high funding will help SenseTime to advance its AI platform and grow the business globally.
“SenseTime has established an AI ecosystem anchored with robust research, deep industry collaboration, and diverse partnerships. Our Round C funding will maximise these advantages by accelerating the development of a global footprint with a larger ecosystem incorporating both domestic and overseas partners. The funding will also help us widen the scope for more industrial application of AI, thus increasing the value of SenseTime’s global ecosystem,” said Li Xu, SenseTime Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer.
The company currently has more than 400 customers and partners from several industries including security, fintech, automobile, retail, smartphone, internet, and robotics. SenseTime is also a partner of Qualcomm, Honda, Suning, Massachusets Institute of Technology, INESA Group, and Lingang Group.
The company had also set a record in July last year, when it raised $410 million in the series B round of funding.