The image recognition artificial intelligence (AI) startup SenseTime Group has raised $620 Million at an astronomical valuation of $4.5 billion. The Chinese based startup, which has already earned the reputation of been the world’s most valuable AI startup, has now further moved ahead in the valuation game.
SenseTime’s latest fundraising round that saw participation by several investors has come barely a month after it raised similar amount from Alibaba. Both these rounds were reportedly part of the series C round that now seems to have been successfully closed. Fidelity International, Hopu Capital, Sliver Lake and Tiger Global were some of the investors that participated in the latest fund raising round.
SenseTime’s meteoric growth rate has taken many by surprise, especially considering the fact that it is merely a three year old startup. Analysts claim that most investors are betting huge bucks on this AI startup for tangible support that it is receiving from the Chinese government in race to build a national security protocol.
The company essentially analyzes faces and images on a huge scale and works in collaboration with Chinese government to build a formidable policing system. Buoyed by government support, the startup has recently added new verticals in a big push towards profitability.
While most analysts are happy about huge amount of money coming into the AI sector, they also warn about the downturn that the entire sector may have to go through if companies fail to please investors. In this context, SenseTime’s great challenge may be sourcing local talent and minimizing its dependence on foreign talents.
Despite Chinese government’s open support to AI, the world’s second largest economy is still believed to lagging behind in AI talent as compared to its western counterparts. Although the scenario on the front of local talent is changing steadily, analysts argue that this change is taking place at much slower rate.