Artificial Intelligence

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Toyota AI Ventures, the venture capital arm of the Toyota Research Institute, is a Silicon Valley-based fund investing globally in startups with cutting-edge solutions in the AI, smart-mobility, autonomy, robotics, data and cloud spaces while leveraging the global expertise and technical resources of the Toyota Group.In 2015 Toyota created the Toyota Research Institute aiming to support the research on next-generation mobility, robotics and new materials. Toyota AI Ventures was founded in 2017 with initial funding of $100m. 

BayWa Venture GmbH is a subsidiary company of BayWa AG, the German agriculture, energy and construction conglomerate.Putting digitalization at the core of its agriculture strategy, the company is looking to expand its core business into digital services within the existing businesses. It is investigating new digital business models and stand-alone concepts through collaboration with emerging startups focusing on cutting-edge technologies in the agrifood tech space.BayWa started to invest in startups in 2012 mainly focused on online customer management, services and sales platforms. In 2015, the company purchased Farm Facts, a German farm management SaaS and in 2017 invested in Abundant Robotics, a US-based automated harvest company. One of the firms’ most recent investments has been Evja, an Italian startup developing precision farming hardware based on advanced agronomic models and machine learning technology.

With the aim of supporting Hong Kong to develop into a world-class tech innovation center and cooperating with Guangdong and Macau enterprises to support the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, large-sized mainland enterprises operating in Hong Kong, Hong Kong companies, mainland private firms and new economy enterprises initiated Greater Bay Area Homeland Development Fund in 2018. With a total capital volume of over HK$100bn, it is managed by Greater Bay Area Homeland Investments. The fund will also provide help to enterprises in the Greater Bay Area to export products to overseas markets.

Zhongke Turing (CASTuring) was jointly set up by the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institution of Computing Technology, the Beijing Municipal Science & Technology Commission and private VC firms, including Pioneer Investment, in 2019. It provides seed funding and incubation services to businesses from emerging industries deemed as strategically important, including but not limited to chipmaking, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and big data. 

The European Investment Bank is a pan-European investor based in Luxembourg, and the only bank owned by European Union member states. Founded in 1958, the banks has invested in thousands of businesses and public and private infrastructure projects. It is the largest multilateral borrower and lender by volume and also now has an SME tech focus, with recipients needing to have sustainable business model and, usually, a European focus. In December 2020, the EIB launched a new €150m co-investment fund to support startups leveraging AI across Europe to address what it called “the multibillion-euro funding gap compared with the United States and China.” Its most recent investments include a €20m investment in the €32m Series C round of Portuguese international online print store 360imprimir (BIZAY) and its first spacetech investment, €20m in venture debt investment to Luxembourg-based Spire Global that is building a satellite constellation, both in December 2020.In 4Q 2020, it also invested €10m in Spanish industrial IoT startup Worldsensing, €15m in German identity verification platform IDnow and €15 in German sportstech platform KINEXON.

SoftBank announced its second Vision Fund of about $108bn in July 2019 to invest in technology startups across the world. SoftBank had originally planned to contribute $38bn to the new fund. However, its Vision Fund I was badly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and losses resulting in lower valuations of its investments in Uber and WeWork.In February 2020, the Japanese conglomerate decided to inject more money into the Vision Fund II before raising new funds from other LPs. With $10bn committed to the second fund by the SoftBank Group, the new fund has now invested in 13 portfolio companies including co-leading the Series C round for XAG in November 2020.

Guangzhou Emerging Industry Development Fund (Emerging Fund) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Guangzhou Industrial Investment Fund Management Co Ltd (SFund).It was found in line with the Guangzhou Municipal Government’s industrial upgrade strategy, with the aim of pooling capital, projects and talents together in Guangzhou. The Emerging Fund currently manages a set of government-guided funds and direct investment funds. It also invests in several state-level guidance funds on behalf of the municipal government. It mainly invests in emerging sectors in manufacturing, information technology, service sectors, seed and related industries.

Founded by Zhang Yiming in 2012, ByteDance is currently the world’s most valuable startup, worth over $100bn by May 2020. It owns quite a number of popular apps including the news aggregator Jinri Toutiao and short video platforms such as Douyin and its overseas version TikTok.ByteDance is also an active investor in China’s startup ecosystem. With a focus on education and gaming, it also invests in sectors of media, enterprise tech, education, gaming, finance, real estate, artificial intelligence and hardware. As of mid-2020, it had invested in 89 companies.

JUE Capital was founded by China’s famous angel investor Wang Gang who invested in quite a few high-profile startups including Didi Chuxing and Ofo. He is also the founding and managing partner of Envision Capital. According to Wang, JUE Capital focuses on the combination of Chinese traditional aesthetic with modern lifestyle.

Beijing Zhongguancun Development Frontier Enterprise Investment Fund was launched by Zhongguancun Development Group, a hi-tech commercialization platform backed by the municipal government of Beijing. It focuses on artificial intelligence and big data, mainly investing in sectors like industrial internet, connected vehicles, biotechnology and healthcare. 

Founded in 2019 in Silicon Valley, Concrete Rose is focused on diversity by investing in under-represented founders and companies serving under-represented consumers at the early-stage and across market segments.  It currently has 14 companies in its portfolio and its most recent investments in January 2021 include the $3.5m seed round of inclusive car insurer Loop and in the $17.1m seed round of HR analytics software Syndio 

SEEDS Capital is the investment arm of Enterprise Singapore supporting locally based startups that have innovative technologies and global market potential. Sectors of focus include advanced manufacturing & engineering, health & biomedical sciences, urban sustainability & solutions, fintech, artificial intelligence and agritech. SEEDS currently works with more than 500 deep tech startups, and over 40 incubators, accelerators and venture capital firms. 

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