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6 December 2017

Bici and Comb+ launch AI fund

Beijing Institute of Collaborative Innovation is partnering accelerator Comb+ for a fund that has already raised more than half its $76.8m target.

Author: Callum Cyrus, reporter

Beijing Institute of Collaborative Innovation (Bici), a research and commercialisation alliance of 14 Chinese universities, has joined China-based accelerator Comb+ to launch a €65m ($76.8m) artificial intelligence (AI)-focused fund, DealStreetAsia reported on Monday.

The fund has already raised more than half of the €65m fundraising target, Comb+ CEO Leo Zhu told TechCrunch, adding that the limited partners include government, corporate and private investors, most of which are based in China.

The vehicle will back international AI startups looking to do business in the Chinese market, mirroring the overseas remit of Comb+’s Sino Track accelerator partnership with Finland-based accelerator Pivot5, which launched in 2016.

The AI fund will maintain offices in Beijing and Helsinki, generally offering investments of €1m to €2m up to a maximum of €5m per deal. Investees could receive follow-on capital where necessary.

Bici is a collaborative network of institutions that includes Peking University, Tsinghua University and South University of Science and Technology of China. It works with China-based corporates such as gas distributor ENN Energy and display manufacturer BOE Technology as well as the municipality of Beijing.

Leo Zhu told TechCrunch: “We see Helsinki, Beijing’s sister city, as the best place in the world to launch our fund.

“Our ambitions are global and we are today opening the Sino Track program to all exceptional technology and cultural startup aspiring to enter the Chinese market.”

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