Robotic pool cleaner manufacturer Xingmai Innovation Technology (星迈创新) announced the completion of an angel round valued at 200 million yuan (US$29 million) today, led by big name investors such as GL Ventures, Shunwei Capital, Source Code Capital, Yunmu Cap and Suzhou Wuzhong Finance Holding.
Proceeds from this round will be spent on product development, supply chain construction and brand building.
Founded in 2022 and headquartered in Suzhou, eastern China’s Jiangsu Province, Xingmai is dedicated to designing and producing pool cleaners.
Wang Shengle, founder and CEO of Xingmai, used to be a lead developer with rich experience at robotic vacuum cleaner powerhouses Ecovacs (科沃斯, 603486.SH) and Dreame (追觅科技), overseeing the production of vacuum sweeper, window-cleaning robot and PV panel scrubber.
He ventured into the robot pool cleaner sector after conducting market research tours in North America. This domain is getting increasingly crowded with domestic players like Aiper (元鼎智能) and Winny Pool Cleaner (望圆科技) and foreign competitors.
The world has 26 million private swimming pools, and another 500,000 to 700,000 are being added every year.
According to China Insights Consultancy, a market intelligence provider, robot pool cleaner market was valued at US$1.61 billion worldwide in 2021, up 20% over the previous year. The market grew at a CAGR of 16.24% from 2017 to 2021, and is projected to reach US$2.28 billion in 2023 and US$3.53 billion in 2026.
The market, which has been around for nearly 40 years, is relatively concentrated and market incumbents are barely innovative, leaving room for upstarts like Xingmai to catch up in terms of technology and market share, according to Shunwei Capital, one of Xingmai’s backers.
Xingmai’s developers came up with customized brush-less motors to replace brush motors, an overhaul that considerably improved the robotic cleaner’s levels of sensitivity and run time, according to the startup.
In addition, Xingmai also installed supersonic sensors on its gadget. Coupled with multiple sensing technologies and proprietary motion algorithms, its robotic cleaner can navigate the underwater environment with accuracy and plan its own routes.
Drawing on observations gained overseas about user habits, such as use of pool even in Winter, Xingmai’s engineers added components to stabilize the gizmo’s performance at low temperatures.
Xingmai’s founding team consists of members with rich industry experience and resources, having all worked previously at numerous smart gadget unicorns, according to a press release.
Currently, the company is pulling out all stops to develop its mass-produced model, with the first-generation product due to debut in early 2024.
*Note: In the absence of an official name or translation, we use pinyin spelling for Xingmai throughout the story.