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SenseTime C+ funding round closes at $620 million as investors flock to AI unicorn


SenseTime has announced the completion of a $620 million Series C+ funding round led by Fidelity International, Hopu Capital, Silver Lake, and Tiger Global, which the company says values it at more than $4.5 billion, making it the world’s largest AI unicorn.

The announcement comes just over a month after a $600 million investment from Alibaba, SenseTime’s largest stakeholder, as part of the same round. Other participants in the “+” portion of the round include Qualcomm Ventures.

SenseTime has now raised $1.6 billion, and the company achieved profitability in 2017 with its third consecutive year of 400 percent year-over-year growth. The company also says its has increased its business contract revenue more than tenfold in 2018 up to the beginning of May.

Recent deals include an agreement with China’s largest subway operator, Shanghai Shentong Metro Group, to monitor traffic with AI solutions, according to the announcement. SenseTime will also establish regional headquarters in Chengdu after signing a strategic agreement with local authorities, which the company says aligns with a Belt and Road initiative to develop the market in western China. The company recently partnered with Alibaba Group and the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corp. (HKSTP) to establish the HK AI Laboratory.

AI facial recognition technology from SenseTime is also used in China’s controversial “Police Cloud.”

SenseTime says it will use the capital raised in its latest round to invest in talent and research and development.

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