The backing for Prophesee comes from smartphone maker Xiaomi as well as Inno-Chip, an investment firm backed by Will Semiconductor, owner of camera sensor maker OmniVision and Sinovation Ventures. This is the first deal for Chinese investor Sinovation in a European startup. The company has raised $65m from US and European investors and the deal takes the total raised to nearly $100m.
Prophesee will use the partnerships to further strengthen its commercial presence and resources in China to address growing customer demand, as well as develop broader relationships across key ecosystems in semiconductors, industrial, robotics, IoT and mobile devices.
The additional funding, currently unspecified, is signficant enough to accelerate the development and commercialization of Prophesee’s next generation hardware and software products and develop its product roadmap plans. The strategic involvement of Xiaomi and Inno-Chip provides additional reach into the critical mobile and semiconductor segments says the company.
However the event-driven architecture of the sensor and machine learning framework requires new development tools.
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The involvement of Sinovation and its founder Dr. Kai-Fu Lee represents a significant endorsement from a notable global expert in AI technology and venture capital. Sinovation is famous for nurturing several successful AI unicorns in its portfolio including Momenta, WeRide, AInnovation, 4Paradigm, Horizon Robotics and more, and has more than $2.5 billion assets under management.
“Prophesee’s technology has great potential in many sectors, such as computational photography, autonomous driving, industrial automation, IoT, Healthcare, AR and VR,” said said Dr. Kai-Fu Lee at Sinovation. “Computer vision applications are flourishing globally and can benefit from Prophesee’s latest technological breakthrough. I believe Prophesee’s advanced technology in AI and machine vision will open up more possibilities globally to enable new levels of automation, safety and efficiency for many industries.”
“This round of funding takes us another step closer to establishing Prophesee as a clear leader in applying neuromorphic methods to machine vision and AI. The commitment from these new partners is a strategic part of our evolution and growth plan that will give us expanded global access to customers, particularly in China, for our revolutionary event-based vision sensing and processing approach,” said Luca Verre, CEO and founder of Prophesee.
“As we continue to develop strategies to align with targeted market segments like mobile, automotive, AR and industrial automation, involvement from established leaders such as Sinovation, Xiaomi and Inno-Chip will complement our current expertise and business networks, and position us strongly in the relevant ecosystems.”
The Paris-based company has offices in Grenoble as well as Shanghai, Tokyo and California.
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