AI Startup Xiaoice Raises $138.4 Million in Third-Round Funding
What’s new: Chinese artificial intelligence chatbot developer Xiaoice raised 1 billion yuan ($138.4 million) in its third round of funding, the Microsoft spinoff said Monday.
The company didn’t disclose details of investors in the latest financing. Sequoia Capital and some existing investors participated, according to people close to the company. The fundraising doubled Xiaoice’s value to $2 billion since the last round in July 2021.
Xiaoice said it will use the funds to accelerate research and development of its AI technology and promote the popularization of digital employees.
The background: Launched in 2014 by a team of Microsoft researchers, Xiaoice is modeled as a teenage girl and is touted as an “empathic computing framework” that focuses on longer back-and-forth conversations with humans instead of simply answering questions or obeying commands like most bots.
In July 2020, Microsoft spun off Xiaoice as a standalone Chinese company in which the U.S. software giant would hold a small stake.
Xiaoice closed a series A funding round in July 2021 from Hillhouse Capital, GGV Capital, IDG Capital, 5Y Capital, Northern Light Venture Capital and NetEase. The company said then its valuation topped $1 billion.
Xiaoice provides AI solutions to the financial, smart vehicle, retail and sports sectors. Its clients include China Unicom, the Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong, BMW and Nio.
Quick Takes are condensed versions of China-related stories for fast news you can use. To read the full story in Chinese, click here.
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