In China, big data is typically dominated by commerce-driven internet giants, however a new type of player is entering the field, and they’ve got a lot of coins to spend.
iCarbonX (碳云智能), a six-month old biotech startup that raised a 1 billion RMB (about $154 million USD) round of Series A funding, boosting the Shenzhen-based company to unicorn status with a valuation of $1 billion USD.
“We want to digitize everyone’s life data…to improve everyone’s quality of life,” said Jun Wang, the CEO of iCarbonX, in an interview with Chinese tech media NetEase Tech, which announced iCarbonX’s funding news on Monday (link in Chinese).
The company is building a big data-driven health platform, capable of processing a wide variety of health-related data, including genetic data and data from smart hardware devices. Using artificial intelligence, iCarbonX will recommend personalized health services and products, as well as forecast and predict health conditions.
According to the iCarbonX’s website, the company is partnering with research institutions, pharmaceutical factories, hospitals, insurance companies and health management companies around the world to gather and analyze data for its platform.
“After completing this round of funding, iCarbonX will develop the following four areas: cosmetics, nutrition, health, and medical treatment,”said Mr. Wang in an interview with Chinese medical media site 360zhyx.com (转化医学网).
According to the company, users interested in skincare could use iCarbonX’s offline system to conduct a skin test. Afterwards, iCarbonX’s platform would suggest a personalized solution, product, or O2O service.
The Chinese startup has a star-studded team, starting with Mr. Wang, who is the co-founder and a board member of the Beijing Genomics Institute, a well-known genome sequence center and one of the key sequencing centers for the 1000 Genomes Project, an international initiative to catalog human genetic variation.
Mr. Wang’s partners include Chun Wu, who has a Ph.D in genetics from Yale University, and Qiang Yang, a fellow of AAAI (Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence) with a Ph.D in artificial intelligence.
The company’s Series A funding was led by Chinese tech giant Tencent, who have invested in a number of health-related startups, including mobile medical device startup Scanadu, smart scale company Picooc, and Guahao, an O2O platform for medical services. Artificial intelligence and big data have gained significant limelight in China following Lee Sodol’s defeat against AlphaGo, an AI developed by DeepMind, an artificial intelligence company acquired by Google in 2014.
A spokesperson from iCarbonX could not be reached in time for comment.
Image credit: iCarbonX