According to sources familiar with the issue, Mobvoi, a Google-backed startup, is close to securing the desired financing that will propel its valuation to over a $1 billion ahead of its initial public offering (IPO) in China.
Furthermore, the sources revealed that the artificial intelligence (AI) software and smartwatch developer not only aims to secure $100 million but also plans to feature on a proposed board for tech entities on the Shanghai bourse.
Mobvoi, which marks the earliest direct investment by Google in China, is expected to be one of the key candidates for the latest trading venue, predicted to be a fundraising haven, especially for rapidly growing companies.
Backed by the likes of Zhenfund and Sequoia, the AI startup is among an array of Chinese entities attempting to take over market share from some of the industry giants like Apple Inc.
In fact, the seven-year-old company has managed to diversify its enterprise, specifically from voice-search solutions to smart speakers as well as designer and sports smartwatches.
During a funding round led by Google back in 2015, Mobvoi’s valuation was approximately $300 million.
Nevertheless, the company refused to comment on the matter through an emailed statement.
Established back in 2012 by several ex-Googlers, the artificial intelligence startup located in Beijing entered into a strategic collaboration with Google via Google Assistant and Wear operating system as well.
The company also managed to bring Volkswagen AG on board as a leading investor through a financing round held back in 2017.
This funding exercise led to the inception of a joint venture aimed at developing artificial intelligence technology for motor vehicles.
What’s more, the company revealed that it now has approximately 800 workers spread out across all its offices, especially in San Francisco and Seattle.
Back in 2017, Li Zhifei, the co-founder of Mobvoi, said to Bloomberg it has been targeting to have its initial public offering (IPO) in Hong Kong or the United States within two years.
So far, Beijing has over a dozen companies aiming to be among the first startup to go public, primarily on the proposed venue designed for technology stocks.
This endeavor helps to push the ambitious project rolled out by President Xi Jinping back in 2018.
Beijing-based Mobvoi requires the capital to fund its global expansion endeavors, particularly in the United States.
The company’s Co-founder Li Zhifei also revealed that the startup will use the funds to expand its increasing product pipeline, for instance from dashboard systems to automobile-based smart rearview mirrors.
Back in 2016, Mobvoi became a certified partner to Google’s Wear software, which means that the startups voice-search solutions are integrated into the US-based company’s OS for wearable gadgets.
Google is a US-based technology company that focuses on Internet-based products and services, which comprise of search engine, software, cloud computing, hardware, and online advertising technologies.
The company is said to be among the leading four technology companies globally, alongside Facebook, Apple, and Amazon.
Located in Mountain View, California, GooglePlex is the official headquarters of not only Google but also its parent entity, Alphabet Inc.