Temasek-Backed Tech Startup Innovusion Raises $66 Million
(Bloomberg) -- Innovusion Holdings Ltd - a startup that develops laser-based detection systems used in self-driving vehicles known as LiDAR - has raised a $66 million Series B plus round led by Guotai Junan International Holdings Ltd and Lei Jun-backed Shunwei Capital as it prepares to ramp up sales to auto-makers next year.
Existing investors including Temasek International, Nio Capital, Eight Roads Ventures and F-Prime Capital also participated in the round, Innovusion chief executive officer Junwei Bao said in an interview. The company’s research and development is split between Silicon Valley in the U.S. and Suzhou, China.
Innovusion’s latest fundraising comes amid heightened fears that geopolitical strife between the U.S. and China as well as regulatory crackdowns by Beijing could hamper Chinese businesses with cross-border ties. That’s affected plans for everything from investment rounds to public listings.
Bao said his company steered clear of danger by using commercially available products that aren’t considered sensitive by America and not collecting any of the data gathered by its sensors - an issue that has caused problems for Didi Global Inc and Chinese vehicle makers. He declined to provide the company’s valuation, but said it has raised $180 million so far and expects its next round to make it a unicorn worth over $1 billion.
“For certain purely Western-based funds who may not bother to spend time to understand the real situation they may have some concerns and may be more cautious,” he said when asked about investor appetite in his company. “But I believe once all the dust settles down in the next couple of months this situation should have very negligible effects here.”
Chinese automaker Nio Inc., which recently said demand for its cars are rebounding, is both an investor and set to be the biggest customer for one of Innovusion’s latest LiDAR systems as part of the ET7 sedan. The extra funding will help the startup grow faster and offset the potential shortage of computer chips by paying for some upfront, Bao said.
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