Inceptio, a China-based robotruck startup, said it has closed a $270 million Series B on Tuesday. JD Logistics, Meituan, and PAG led the investment round.
Why it matters: It’s unusual for two Chinese tech majors to join the same funding round, signaling that they see Inceptio as a key player.
Details: The funding round is led by JD Logistics, online retailer JD’s delivery arm, life service platform Meituan, and private equity firm PAG. Other investors include express courier Deppon and IDG Capital, Inceptio said in a Tuesday announcement. The investors didn’t provide a valuation for the company.
- Inceptio has raised more than $490 million since its founding in 2018.
- The Shanghai-based robotruck startup will use the new funds to expand in-house research on self-driving systems and accelerate investments in electric trucks, the announcement said.
Context: Both JD and Meituan have invested in autonomous driving, but progress on driverless technology has been slower than many expected. JD appears to be behind schedule on its own self-driving truck project.
- JD unveiled a highly autonomous truck model in Beijing in mid-2018 and anticipated its testing fleet would begin commercial operation in 2020, The Paper reported (in Chinese). But the company has yet to announce any updates. A JD spokeswoman did not respond to TechNode’s request about meeting the target.
- Meituan has also been investing in self-driving cars for a few years. The company invested in Haomo.ai, a startup developing automated driving systems for passenger vehicles and electric vehicle startup Li Auto.
- Inceptio announced in March that the company will mass produce two self-driving truck models by the end of this year. The models will be co-developed with Chinese automakers Dongfeng and Sinotruk, respectively.
- Last November, Inceptio raised $220 million in Series A. Investors include battery giant CATL, logistics firm GLP, and Nio Capital, an investment firm partly formed by electric vehicle maker Nio.