China’s auto-chip startup Black Sesame Technologies has recently announced that it has raised “hundreds of millions of dollars” from Xiaomi Corp and other investors as the country fast-tracks the development of its semiconductor industry.
Black Sesame Technologies said that its valuation is nearly $2 billion after this funding.
Led by Hubei Xiaomi Yangtze Industrial Fund this Series C funding round also saw participation from other investors including Summitview Capital and Wingtech Technology.
The fund was established in 2017 by the government-backed Yangtze River Industry Fund, Hubei provincial government, and Xiaomi. Hubei Xiaomi Yangtze Fund was created for the development of services and products in the Xiaomi ecosystem.
Black Sesame Technologies will be using this fresh infusion of funds for research and development, market expansion and commercialization of the next-generation high-performance, large-calculus autonomous driving platform, and hiring new talent.
The auto-chip startup was founded in 2016 when it secured Series A funding from Northern Light Venture Capital. It announced the completion of the Series A+ funding round in 2018 which was nearly RMB 100 million ($15 million) which was led by NIO Capital. The funding round also included participation from Northern Light and Beijing Kinetic Energy.
Black Sesame Technologies’s Series B funding round was completed in 2019 that included participation from SK China, SAIC, Delta Capital, Northern Light, and Fenghe Fund Management.
The startup released HuaShan-1 A500, its first smart driving chip for cars in August 2019 with a computing power of 5-10 TOPS.
The company launched HuaShan-2 A-100, its second-generation chip in June 2020 with a computing power of 58-116 TOPS. It is the first of its kind chip that backs L2+ autonomous driving.
According to Wang Xiang, President and CFO of Xiaomi, “Driverless technology is actually the core of smart electric vehicles. We are determined to be deeply involved and hope to shorten the time to market for our self-driving cars with this acquisition.”