The $270 million Series B transaction was completed by the Chinese robotruck company Inceptio.JD Logistics, Meituan, and PAG arranged the fundraising round.
JD Logistics, the delivery arm of online retailer, life services platform Meituan, and private equity firm PAG are leading the investment round. Deppon, a fast delivery service, and IDG Capital were listed as new investors by Inceptio. There was no company valuation provided by the investors.
It’s unusual for two major Chinese IT companies to participate in the same investment round, which shows that they value Inceptio as a key player in the industry.
Inceptio Technology, a startup with its headquarters in Shanghai, was launched in 2018 by G7 Networks, Global Logistic Properties, Ltd., and NIO Capital. It specializes in building nationwide freight networks and autonomous driving trucks. As a member of the 5G Autonomous Driving Alliance, Inceptio manages the use of autonomous driving technology in transportation services and creates solutions for self-driving trucks.
Inceptio seeks to dominate China’s enormous $600 billion but highly fragmented line-haul trucking sector by combining autonomous driving development, intelligent vehicle engineering, and a fleet operating unit. Some of the important business partners that Inceptio has acquired throughout time include Dongfeng Commercial Vehicles, SINOTRUK, and CATL.
According to Inceptio CEO Julian Ma, they will begin with a small number of trucks and eventually develop up to 50,000 or 100,000 trucks across China, creating a nationwide network for robotic trucks.
The Shanghai-based robotruck company will reportedly utilise the additional funds to accelerate investments in electric cars and expand internal research on self-driving systems. Although the development of driverless technology has been slower than many had hoped, both JD and Meituan have invested in it. JD appears to be behind schedule with relation to its own self-driving truck effort.
In Beijing, JD displayed a model of a highly automated truck in the middle of 2018. According to the sources, the company anticipated that its testing fleet will begin conducting commercial operations in 2020. However, the business hasn’t disclosed any fresh information.
The closure of a US$270 million Series B equity financing was announced by Inceptio Technology, a firm that develops and operates autonomous driving trucks. JD Logistics, Meituan, and PAG jointly led this round of funding; other investors included Deppon Express, IDG Capital, CMB International, SDIC, Mirae Asset, Eight Roads, and Broad Vision Funds; and existing shareholders GLP Hidden Hill Capital, CATL, NIO Capital, and Eastern Bell Capital actively followed.
Inceptio Technology will be able to quicken the deployment of its self-developed full-stack autonomous driving system “Xuanyuan” and expedite the development of that system with the successful closing of Series B. Since 2019, Inceptio Technology and the top OEMs in China have worked together to develop a range of heavy-duty, autonomously driving trucks for mass production.
This partnership was the result of a meticulous forward vehicle development process, and it led to several autonomous driving firsts. Numerous elite Chinese shippers and fleets have used the autonomous driving freight network developed by Inceptio Technology.
Meituan has also been investing in self-driving cars for a long time. The corporation invested in two startups: Li Auto, which builds electric cars, and Haomo.ai, which develops automatic driving technology for passenger vehicles.
Two different kinds of self-driving trucks will be mass-produced by the end of this year, according to a March statement from Inceptio. Two Chinese automakers, Dongfeng and Sinotruk, will collaborate to produce the cars.
In November, Inceptio secured $220 million in Series A funding. Among the investors are the world’s largest battery maker CATL, the logistics firm GLP, and Nio Capital, which was created in part by the electric vehicle manufacturer Nio.
At least three companies that run self-driving trucks are now making their technology available. Plus declared in May 2021 that it would IPO via a $3.3 billion SPAC with Hennessy Capital Investment Corp.
In a $5.2 billion merger with Northern Genesis Acquisition Corp. that is anticipated to be completed in the second half of 2021, Embark Trucks is also going public via SPAC.
Ans. Ma, Julian
Ans. China’s Shanghai
Ans. B Series