AI chip developer Horizon Robotics raised a round backed by several automotive manufacturers, taking its overall funding to $900m in the past two months.

China-based artificial intelligence (AI) chipmaker Horizon Robotics secured $350m in a series C3 round, which featured a range of corporate investors, including optical technology producer Sunny Optical, carmakers BYD Auto, Great Wall Motors, Changjiang Automobile Electronic, Changzhou Xingyu Car Light and Dongfeng Motor. The latter invested through its Dongfeng Asset subsidiary. The company has raised a total of $900m in series C funding altogether, exceeding its initial target of $700m.

Founded in 2015, Horizon Robotics develops AI computer chips designed for use in autonomous vehicles, surveillance cameras and smart devices. Horizon intends to use the series C funding to further develop its technology platform for autonomous vehicles.

The company is part of the broader AI tech space, which has attracted the attention of many corporate venture investors over the past decade, as the GCV Analytics bar chart below illustrates. The number of corporate-backed deals in this space reached its highest point in 2019 at 334 rounds, estimated at also an all-time high of $20.52bn. In 2020, the number of such deals slid down only slightly to 317 but the total of dollar value estimated dropped more significantly to $15.51bn, likely reflecting not only the pandemic-induced downturn but also the subsequent rise in valuations.