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Autonomous driving startup HoloMatic bumps up Series C with fresh $42m funding


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HoloMatic Technology, a Chinese provider of full-stack autonomous driving solutions, has raised an additional 300 million yuan ($41.6 million), taking the overall size of its Series C funding round to over 1 billion yuan ($138.7 million).

The Beijing-based startup closed the extended Series C round from two co-lead investors: GAC Capital, a wholly owned subsidiary of Chinese state-owned automaker GAC Group, and the state-owned venture capital (VC) firm Guangdong Technology Financial Group, which manages 38.6 billion yuan ($5.4 billion) in total assets.

HoloMatic was founded in June 2017 by ex-Baidu machine learning scientist Ni Kai, who had assisted the Chinese search engine in the creation of a self-driving business. With IDG Capital and HongShan among its early backers, the startup offers full-stake autonomous driving solutions including wire control, multi-sensor fusion, and core algorithm design.

Its main products include HoloPilot, which offers level 3.5 highway autonomous driving solutions, and an intelligent valet parking system called HoloParking.

The startup plans to use the new funding in the continued R&D, mass production, and commercialisation of its autonomous driving solutions.

GAC as biggest external shareholder

The extension round marks yet another investment in HoloMatic by GAC Capital. GAC Capital invested in HoloMatic in late 2021 when the startup and its parent GAC Group signed an agreement to form a strategic cooperation and introduce to the market the first GAC vehicle model powered by HoloMatic’s self-driving solutions.

GAC Capital has since doubled down on HoloMatic by investing in its Series C1 round in March 2022 and then leading the following Series C2 round in November of the same year. In total, GAC Capital has injected nearly 400 million yuan ($55.5 million) into the startup.

GAC Capital now holds a stake of approximately 13% in HoloMatic as its biggest external shareholder post the extension round, according to LatePost. The Chinese online business media outlet reported that GAC Group is also the largest client of HoloMatic, as the startup supplies its advanced driver assistant system (ADAS) to GAC Group-owned new energy vehicle (NEV) and pure electric vehicle (EV) marques including Trumpchi, Aion, and Hyper.

In the first half of 2023, GAC Group sold almost 1.2 million vehicles, including 236,000 NEVs as the third biggest NEV seller in the Chinese market after BYD and Tesla.

HoloMatic’s founder and CEO Ni told LatePost that he expects HoloMatic to “significantly improve the current loss-making situation” in 2024, before the startup breaks even in 2025 ahead of a potential public listing.

The threshold for HoloMatic’s survival, achieving profitability, and going public is to deliver its autonomous driving solutions to at least 200,000 vehicles, said Ni, who estimates the startup to expand its sales volume to “a few tens of thousands of vehicles” by the end of this year.

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