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24 November 2017

SenseTime seeks to schedule IPO

SenseTime, founded by Chinese University of Hong Kong professor Tang Xiaoou, has begun exploring an initial public offering as early as 2018.

Author: Thierry Heles, editor

SenseTime, a China-based artificial intelligence (AI) technology developer backed by semiconductor manufacturer Qualcomm, plans to go public as early as next year, Reuters reported yesterday.

The company, reportedly valued at more than $2bn, is exploring Hong Kong, mainland China and the US as options for its initial public offering. The flotation may occur either in either 2018 or 2019.

Founded in 2014, SenseTime has created a deep learning platform that exploits computer vision to power applications such as facial and object recognition, video analytics, language processing and vehicle detection.

The company was founded by Tang Xiaoou, a professor in Chinese University of Hong Kong’s Department of Information Engineering and associate dean of its engineering faculty.

In addition to the IPO plans, SenseTime intends to launch a research and development centre in the US early in 2018 to facilitate collaborations in the country. It has already secured a $100m contract to develop autonomous driving technology with an unnamed partner.

SenseTime most recently raised an undisclosed sum from Qualcomm last week, as part of an agreement to develop AI-enhanced chips. The investment was reported at the time as being part of a $500m series C round that is yet to close.

The company closed its $410m series B round in July 2017. CDH Investments led a reported $120m first tranche in December 2016, with contributions from real estate-focused conglomerate Dalian Wanda, IDG Capital and StarVC.

Private equity fund Sailing Capital International led an extension in April reportedly sized at $60m. Other series B investors included China International Capital, Co-Stone Capital, China Merchants Securities International and Morningside Venture Capital.

Everbright-IDG Industrial Fund, Advantech Capital, Zhongping Guoyu Asset Management, Huarong International Financial Holdings, TCL Capital and Infore Group also took part in the series B round, which followed $10m in series A capital from IDG Capital in 2014.

– This article first appeared on our sister site, Global Corporate Venturing.

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