Just one month after raising $600 million in a Series C funding round, Chinese AI facial recognition startup SenseTime has announced a further $620 million investment taking the total valuation of the firm to $4.5 billion.
With the Chinese Government on a mission to dominate the world of artificial intelligence, SenseTime is seemingly leading the charge, maintaining its position as the world’s most valuable AI company a total financing of more than $1.6 billion to date. Fidelity International, Hopu Capital, Silver Lake and Tiger Global led the investment, though Qualcomm Ventures was confirmed to be involved as well.
The vast majority of companies are looking into the potential for artificial intelligence, though the SenseTime success is seemingly off the back of an obsession from the Chinese government. Over the last three years, SenseTime boasts to have a growth rate of 400% year-on-year, with the snooping government one the major customers.
Aside from using the facial recognition technology to power its national surveillance system, processing data captured by China’s 170 million CCTV cameras as well as smart glasses worn by police offers on the street, the team also has a contract with Shanghai Shentong Metro Group, the largest subway operator in China, to deploy AI solutions for metro traffic monitoring. Other customers include China Merchants Bank, Huawei, Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi.
Although the team has not explicitly mentioned what the new funds would be used for, aside from the generic R&D plug, during the Series C funding round last month the team stated increasing the international footprint was a big focus.
“Our Round C funding will maximise these advantages by accelerating the development of a global footprint with a larger ecosystem incorporating both domestic and overseas partners,” said Li Xu, SenseTime CEO. “The funding will also help us widen the scope for more industrial application of AI, thus increasing the value of SenseTime’s global ecosystem.”