BEIJING, March 12, 2020 — Autonomous vehicle delivery startup Neolix recently completed an A+ round of funding, raising nearly RMB 200 million. Li Xiang’s Lixiang Automotive and ADDOR Capital were the investors in this round of funding, while existing shareholders Yunqi Partners and Glory Ventures injected more funds.
Previously, Yunqi Partners was the lead investor in the A round funding, committing close to RMB100 million, and has always stood by and supported the company.
Since its founding, Yunqi has been focused on investing in early and mid-stage startups concerned with “technology-enabled industrial upgrading”, and the autonomous driving vehicle sector is a priority in its investment direction. Chen Yu, Managing Director of Yunqi Partners, said that Neolix has years of experience in the logistics industry, autonomous driving technology R&D as well as mass production capacity. In terms of business model, the company has rapidly iterated and evolved, and has continued to expand service scenario applications in autonomous vehicle delivery, mobile retail, patrol, and epidemic prevention and disinfection. It has also continued to form partnerships with major customers locally and abroad. We believe that Neolix can further achieve large-scale launches, and create a brand new autonomous vehicle service ecology.
Autonomous vehicle delivery enhanced and made more efficient, with rapid development of launch scenarios
Neolix, founded in 2018, began as a autonomous driving vehicle company focused on autonomous vehicle delivery, and now has more than 160 employees. Its initial intent was to be engaged in end-delivery automation, but they soon realized that replacing couriers and delivery people with autonomous driving vehicles would be difficult in the short term, and far from cost-effective. Hence, Neolix transformed in 2019. Its launch scenarios now include:
- Autonomous vehicle delivery, which supplements manual delivery, is focused on developing delivery of group meals which are heavier;
- Mobile retail: uses autonomous driving vehicles to sell fast food, coffee and other retail products;
- Neolix Patrol: this model requires collaboration with local governments.
During the epidemic, 18 Neolix autonomous driving vehicles took part in the battle against the epidemic, and were deployed in Leishenshan Hospital, other hospitals as well as in communities. Elsewhere, dozens of autonomous driving vehicles were working at the frontline in cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen for the purpose of epidemic prevention, spraying, disinfection and autonomous vehicle delivery.
Having completed funding in a bear market, Neolix is committed to becoming the first self-financing autonomous driving vehicle company
This round of funding commenced in Q4 2019, and was finalized in January 2020 and completed in February. It is understood that the decision to seek funding at this time could be attributed to two major reasons: 1) the realization that capital markets, including USD funds, were cooling, and the company had to ensure that it had adequate cash flow; and 2) Neolix had made impressive progress in mass production, and the proceeds would be used to accelerate the pace of expansion. The company is expected to have another round of fundraising in 2020.
Earlier, Neolix built the world’s first Level 4 autonomous driving vehicle smart manufacturing plant in Changzhou, with an annual capacity of 10,000 vehicles. The company has entered into partnerships with numerous renowned local enterprises such as Baidu, JD.com and Meituan, as well as local governments, and officially went abroad last year. A comprehensive partnership with JD.com’s e-commerce platform, Noon, has seen Neolix autonomous driving vehicles for retail, express delivery and various other products deployed in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. These vehicles will also be deployed in phases to Saudi Arabia and other Middle East and Africa (MEA) region, establishing the world’s largest autonomous driving service array.
Founder and CEO Yu Enyuan said that Neolix had produced and delivered 225 autonomous driving vehicles over the last two years. Their goal this year is to fulfill an order of 1,000 vehicles so that they can break even for the year. Neolix aims to become the first self-financing autonomous driving vehicle company.
SOURCE Yunqi Partners