Mobvoi, an Artificial Intelligence-driven startup that built Chinese voice recognition, Natural Language Processing (NLP), and vertical search technology in-house, is looking to secure USD1 billion before an Initial Public Offering (IPO) in China. With seeking this fund, Mobvoi, backed by Google, reportedly plans to list on a proposed board for tech companies on the Shanghai bourse.
As Google’s first direct investment in China after pulling its search engine in 2010, Mobvoi would be among the more prominent candidates for the new trading venue, visualized as a capital-raising asylum for rapidly growing firms. Founded in seven-year back in 2012, the AI-enabled startup has diversified its business to smart speakers and sports and designer smartwatches from voice-search services. In the year 2015, Mobvoi was valued at nearly USD300 million during a financing round, which was led by Google. The Beijing-based startup made a strategic partnership with search engine giant through Wear operating system, in addition to Google Assistant. The startup is also lured automotive manufacturer Volkswagen AG as a major investor through a 2017 funding round, forming a joint venture which builds AI for cars.
According to Mobvoi, it has approximately 800 employees scattered throughout offices from Seattle to San Francisco. The company’s Co-founder said in a statement that Mobvoi needs the capital to bankroll an expansion around the world, including into the U.S., as well as a growing pipeline of products from dashboard systems to smart rearview mirrors for automobiles. Mobvoi became an official partner to Google’s Wear software in 2016, meaning its voice-search services are embedded in the U.S. company’s operating system for wearable devices, as the report noted.