AI and robotics chip builder Inuchip snags US$70m Series A funding round

The chips by Inuchip are now widely adopted in robotics, Metaverse, consumer electronics, logistics drone, 3D scanning and digital human technologies.

AI chip builder Inuchip (银牛微电子) today announced the completion of a Series A financing round valued at more than 500 million yuan (US$70.62 million), Chinese media reported today.

The fundraiser was led by state-run Hefei Industry Investment Group and Accurate Capital, while Jinxi Group, Timeverse and some existing shareholders also poured money into the round.

The money raised will be primarily spent on R&D of the next-generation chip module, new product solution and talent recruitment.

Inuchip, which is headquartered in Wuxi of eastern China’s Jiangsu Province, is dedicated to visual data processing, multi-sensory fusion and smart AI chipmaking.

The company’s buyout of Inuitive, an Israeli 3D visual chip maker, toward the end of 2020 gave it a competitive edge in the design and manufacturing of 3D, AI and SLAM (simultaneous localization and mapping) chips.

SLAM technologies are essential to the autonomous navigation of robotic devices like robot vacuums, mobile robot carriers, delivery bots and low-speed vehicles in an unstructured, usually indoor environment.

The chips by Inuchip are now widely adopted in robotics, Metaverse, consumer electronics, logistics drone, 3D scanning and digital human technologies.

Relocation to Hefei

Notably, on the occasion of announcing the latest fundraising, Inuchip also chose to relocate its headquarters to Hefei, capital of Anhui Province, to integrate its global strategy, R&D, operational and supply chain management centers.

The choice of Hefei as the location of its new head office speaks volumes about a pattern in China’s equity financing industry.

Under an arrangement with lead investors, which often are state-run mega industrial fund operators, startups are obliged to move their operations to where the funds are.

Hefei has been rapidly climbing up the ladder in tech innovation over the past few years, with the city placing heavy bets on AI, EV and chipmaking and profiting handsomely from investments in these areas.

This time around, Inuchip made a similar choice. Aside from moving to Hefei, it plans to set up a world-leading R&D center for advanced chips and AI products in the city.

To achieve this purpose, it looks to partner with top universities and research institutes in Hefei and attract tech talent from all over the world.

To deepen its foothold in Hefei, Inuchip aims to forge industrial clusters with firms from integrated circuit, AI, robotics, and smart manufacturing.

Commenting on its role in the cash injection into Inuchip, Jiang Xin, general manager of Hefei Industry Investment Group, said Inuchip is a leading SoC (System-on-a-Chip) and module manufacturer worldwide in the field of visual perception, AI and SLAM.

“Its products have won verification and recognition from clients at home and abroad. Going forward, they have bright prospects in applications in robotics, Metaverse, 3D interaction, smart cockpit and intelligent manufacturing,” Jiang explained.

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Ni Tao

Ni Tao is the founder and editor-in-chief of cnrobopedia. Prior to cnrobopedia, he had a full decade of experience with a major state-run English-language newspaper as a tech reporter and opinion writer. He is also a communications specialist, having provided consultancy services to established firms like Siemens, Philips, ABinBev, Diageo, Trip.com Group (Nasdaq: TCOM, HK: 9961), Jianpu Technology (NYSE: JT) and a handful of domestic startups. A graduate of Fudan University, he writes widely about China's business and tech scenes and other topics for global publications including South China Morning Post, SupChina, The Diplomat, CGTN, Banking Technology, among others, and tries to impart his experience to students at Fudan University Journalism School, where he is a part-time lecturer. When he's not writing about robotics, you can expect him to be on his beloved Yanagisawa saxophones, trying to play some jazz riffs, often in vain and occasionally against the protests of an angry neighbor. Get in touch with him by dropping a line at nitao0927@gmail.com.

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