Recently, Sequoia China invested in a Dongguan robot company. According to Tianyan Check , on July 16, Shenzhen Sequoia Jiatai Equity Investment Partnership (Limited Partnership), a fund managed by Sequoia China, made a new foreign investment, with Songling Robot (Dongguan) Co., Ltd. being the subject of investment .
Songling Robotics was established in 2016 and is a start-up company in the upper reaches of the robotics track. It mainly produces mobile robot chassis and provides system solutions. According to China Transmission Network, last year, Songling robot chassis shipments ranked first in China.
Sequoia China is not the only one going to Dongguan, Wuyuan Capital has also joined. According to industry and commerce information, Songling Robot’s new shareholders also include Wuyuan Capital, Xiangfeng Investment, etc., and its registered capital has increased from nearly 6.944 million yuan to approximately 7.467 million yuan, an increase of over 7%.
Prior to this, VCs with good looks have also launched robot projects in Dongguan many times. For example, last year, ByteDance , Sequoia China, Source Code Capital, Hillhouse Ventures and other institutions invested in the sweeping robot company Yunjing Intelligent . In April, Source Code Capital and other institutions invested in the power exoskeleton robot research and development manufacturer Chino Power. The two invested companies are both located in Dongguan.
But the question is, why is it always Dongguan? In addition, the robot fever is not a day or two. What is the difference between investors’ actions in Dongguan this time?
Songshan Lake’s robotics company is almost “swept away”
Where the entrepreneur is, the investor will go.
A group of robotics companies gathered in Songshan Lake, Dongguan. Two years ago, there were more than 400. Reflecting on the investment level, in the geographical distribution of investment in the robotics track this year, North, Shanghai and Shenzhen are no exception, but Dongguan also frequently appears on the financing map.
Why is Dongguan?
First of all, in recent years, Dongguan’s equipment manufacturing companies have been actively transforming and upgrading, and hope to quickly cut into new markets and new demands. For example, the industrial added value of intelligent manufacturing equipment was 15.55 billion yuan, accounting for 29.6%, a year-on-year increase of 13.9%.
Since 2014, Dongguan has taken the lead in exploring “machine substitution”, empowering the transformation and upgrading of traditional manufacturing, and driving the strong demand for high-end equipment manufacturing. Dongguan hopes to high-end equipment and intelligent manufacturing as the starting point, plus Fighter made the country an important base for high-end equipment manufacturing.
It is reported that the industrial categories owned by Dongguan account for about 83% of all industrial categories and can produce more than 60,000 products. The electronic information industry has formed a trillion-yuan scale.
Let’s talk about a small scale. At present, Songshan Lake International Robot Industry Base has successfully incubated more than 80 start-up companies, with a cumulative output value of more than 3.5 billion yuan, and most of them are robot companies.
At present, the fourth comprehensive national science center in the country-the first start-up area of the comprehensive national science center of the Greater Bay Area is still in full progress in Songshan Lake. Songshan Lake immediately put forward the key tasks of “Five Major Projects”, one of which is to create a birthplace of emerging industries with global influence .
According to data, Songshan Lake has established more than 30 new R&D institutions with well-known universities and institutes, and is continuously outputting new scientific research results.
For example, Academician Zhao Zhongxian, the winner of the National Highest Science and Technology Award, and Academician Li Guojie, Chief Scientist of the Institute of Computing Technology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, have also brought projects to Dongguan for development. More than 1,100 papers have been published. At present, Songshan Lake has more than 50 academicians taking root for a long time, and there are more than 99,000 talents of various types.
“The young people here create a new technology product, the iteration speed may be several times faster than Silicon Valley, Europe, but the cost is only about one-fifth to one-fourth.” Songshan Lake International Robot Industry Base founder, Said Li Zexiang, a professor at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
Of course, I have to mention one person here, Li Zexiang, the founding partner of Songshan Lake International Robot Industry Base. In 2014, Prof. Li Zexiang and his colleagues Prof. Gan Jie and Prof. Minqiang Gao of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology decided to build a platform together , hoping to cultivate companies such as DJI, Li Qun, and Yidong in a systematic and large-scale manner.
Li Zexiang is a professor at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and the founder of the Automation Technology Center (ATC) and Robotics Research Institute (RI) of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. He is also a mentor to Wang Tao, the founder of DJI. Wang Tao studied electronic engineering at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. In 2006, when Wang Tao was still studying for a master’s degree in Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, he founded DJI. In 2008, Wang Tao encountered difficulties. Li Zexiang once brought funds and recruited personnel for DJI. Li also served as chairman of DJI.
According to reports, in 2015, Yunjing founder Zhang Junbin graduated with a master’s degree and submitted a resume to Li Zexiang’s official account. Subsequently, Zhang Junbin became the first talent Li Zexiang introduced to Songshan Lake. Li Zexiang is currently the vice chairman of Yunjing Intelligent.
More than that, a fund dedicated to incubating robotics companies is even more eye-catching. In 2015, relying on the Songshan Lake International Robot Industry Base (XBOT PARK), the XBOTPARK Fund was established and more than 60 companies were incubated, including the company that Cloud Whale Intelligence was chased by well-known VCs. At present, many institutions are making investments along the line of XBOTPARK funds.
But the situation has changed. For example, Songling Robots currently invested by Sequoia and Wuyuan are head start-ups in the upper reaches of the robotics track. And VC once again entered Dongguan and deployed a smaller track upstream of the market means that Songshan Lake’s robotics company is about to be “swept away.”
In fact, Li Zexiang has a very early relationship with Sequoia and other institutions. In 2013, he invested in DJI. In 2016, Li Zexiang and Sequoia China Shen Nanpeng initiated the establishment of the “Hong Kong X Technology Entrepreneurship Platform”.
Not only robot projects, high-performance molecular material service providers such as Yuanzhu Intelligent , and unmanned ship developers such as Ouka Intelligent have also been caught by Sequoia China and other institutions. It is worth noting that Sequoia China, Hillhouse Capital and other institutions are also LPs of XBOTPARK Fund.
First-line agencies accelerate the layout of the robot track
Looking at the financing history of several robot companies mentioned above, in 2017 and 2018, only early institutions such as Lenovo Ventures and Mingshi Capital favored companies incubated by XBOTPARK funds. After 2019, especially last year, VC began to accelerate its layout.
Last year, the epidemic swiftly drove the demand for robots. According to data from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, last year, the national output of industrial robots was 237,068 units, a year-on-year increase of 19.1%. The growth was particularly rapid in December last year. The national output of industrial robots was 29,706 units, a year-on-year increase of 32.4%.
Previously, the Boston Consulting Group also estimated that the global robotics market will be approximately US$25 billion in 2020, but by 2030, it may reach US$160 billion to US$260 billion, a ten-fold increase in ten years.
What followed was an investment boom. Cloud Whale Intelligence from Songshan Lake is also a typical example. At the beginning of last year, it was valued at 400 million yuan, which has doubled 15 times in half a year and turned into a $1 billion unicorn. These are the epitome of the fiery financing of the robot track.
In the whole year of last year, the robot track was also very hot. There were 242 investment and financing incidents, with an investment amount of approximately 26.8 billion yuan. Even Wang Xing said bluntly that robotics is currently one of the key vertical areas of Meituan’s investment.
And unknowingly, robots have been on fire for more than a year. For example, currently, affected by the epidemic, the enthusiasm for robot financing has repeatedly increased. For example, the service robot Purdue Technology announced in May that it has completed a 500 million yuan C round of financing, which is its third billion-level financing in a year.
This past June, Wo science and technology competition, Simou technology , Han robots, robot Austrian law, superior to science and technology , a technology path , square and other domestic robots enterprises have gained a large amount of financing.
Relevant data shows that in the first half of this year, there were more than 120 investment and financing incidents, with a cumulative amount of over 10 billion yuan, and more than half of the amount of financing over 100 million yuan. There were only a dozen incidents in the whole year of last year. In other words, in only half a year this year, both the number of financing and the amount of financing exceeded the whole of last year.
Take Wuyuan Capital and Sequoia China mentioned above as examples:
This is not and is not the first time that Wuyuan Capital has made a robot track. Prior to this, Xing Yuanzhe completed the $35 million Series B financing led by today’s capital, Wuyuan Capital, Gaorong Capital, and Source Code Capital, etc. Excessive follow-up investment by old shareholders;
In recent days, the Syrius Juxing affiliated company Dayang Intelligent Technology, which ByteDance has invested in, and the cross-platform artificial intelligence robot Xiaoice completed hundreds of millions of yuan in Series A financing, and Wuyuan Capital also appeared;
Even earlier , the tens of millions of Pre-A round of financing of Benmo Technology located in Songshan Lake was led by Wuyuan Capital. Also in March, Wuyuan Capital also led the investment in the logistics and warehousing robot Hairou Innovative . 100 million yuan in B+ round of financing, and the 100 million yuan in B+ round of financing announced by Couba Robot.
Look at Sequoia China, Simou Technology recently announced the completion of $ 200 million B round of financing, Sequoia China are joint lead investor side, the cloud expansion of science and technology announced in March completed a B + round of financing, before, Sequoia China has Incoming;
In addition, in May Purdue Technology’s 500 million yuan C round of financing, Sequoia China also flashed; in June, Sequoia also invested in the A round of financing of home robot R&D and manufacturer Fuzhi Technology . And consumer robot company Lesen Robotics Series B financing.
Up door of an inner robots, Meca Mander , high cents robot and other robots string of stars enterprises, also stood behind the IDG capital, Hillhouse venture, source of capital, venture capital association, Qiming Venture Partners, Lightspeed China, the gold capital, Walden Figures of well-known international institutions.
The reason is that the demand for “machine substitution” has been stimulated, and the first-tier startup companies have also proven their profitability to varying degrees, the market penetration rate has continued to increase, and the robotics track is on the “eve of the outbreak.”
What’s more, from a purely investment and financing perspective, first-line institutions and large CVCs have already entered the market, and they are constantly increasing. If you don’t pay close attention to it, you may not be able to get on the “robot” train.