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China’s SenseTime, the world’s highest-valued AI startup, closes $620M follow-on round

Chinese facial recognition startup SenseTime, which is billed as the world’s highest-valued AI company with a valuation of over $4.5 billion has announced it has raised $620 million in a second round of funding in just two months.

The company raised $600 million in an Alibaba-led financing round announced last month, and now it has added a further $620 million to that with a “Series C+” round announced today.

The new money takes SenseTime to $1.6 billion from investors to date. The valuation has remained “over” $4.5 billion across both of these recent rounds, according to the company. It was previously valued at $1.5 billion when it raised a $410 million Series B last year.

Founded in 2014, SenseTime focuses on computer vision and deep learning technologies. It deploys its AI technology and applications in smart cities, smartphones, Internet entertainment, automobiles, finance, retail, and other industries.

SenseTime said it has reached profitability in 2017. And for the last three consecutive years, it has upheld a year-on-year growth rate of 400% as it has rapidly implemented its technology across industries. This year up until May, its business contract revenue has increased by more than 10-fold so far, according to the company’s announcement.

SenseTime said it has more than 700 customers across a range of verticals including fintech, automotive, fintech, smartphones, smart city development and more that include Honda, Nvidia, China’s UnionPay, Weibo, China Merchants Bank, Huawei, Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi.

Perhaps its most visible partner is the Chinese government, which uses its systems for its national surveillance system. SenseTime process data captured by China’s 170 million CCTV cameras and newer systems which include smart glasses worn by police offers on the street.

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