Ping An Global Voyager Fund-backed AI Startup Laiye Raises $50 Million in Series C+ Funding
HONG KONG and SHANGHAI, April 21, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China, Ltd. (hereafter "Ping An" or "the Group", HKEx: 2318; SSE: 601318) is delighted to announce that Laiye, China's leader in intelligent automation, has raised $50 million in a Series C+ funding round co-led by the Ping An Global Voyager Fund and Shanghai Artificial Intelligence Industry Equity Investment Fund. Lightspeed China Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Sequoia Capital China and Wu Capital also participated.
In the last year, Laiye reached several milestones with its innovative product offerings and fast developing ecosystem. Laiye accelerated its international expansion despite the pandemic and is now serving a growing customer base that includes numerous Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Laiye's annual robotic process automation (RPA) software subscription revenue soared with an impressive 900% year-over-year growth. Its conversational artificial intelligence (AI) product, Laiye Chatbot, also received positive reviews from the user community. Laiye achieved positive cashflow for its enterprise business and profitability for the chatbot business in the fourth quarter of 2020.
Laiye's global footprint spans Asia, the US and Europe, with international partners including Microsoft, Deloitte, KPMG and Digital China. In its ongoing expansion, Laiye will be mindful of the expectations and technological trends in local regions to ensure its solutions are relevant to the target markets. The company currently has a community with more than 400,000 developers and more than 500 partners, primarily in China. It is quickly broadening their community outside China through partners such as RAAS PAL, a robotics and AI solution provider in Thailand.
Jonathan Larsen, Ping An Group Chief Innovation Officer and CEO of Ping An Global Voyager Fund, said, "Laiye has established itself as a clear leader in China in an extremely fast growing and attractive space. Laiye's solutions have particular resonance with financial institutions, which in China are generally just beginning to reap the rewards of RPA applications. Ping An is excited to partner with Laiye to help take it to the next phase of its growth story."
Li Wei, Co-CEO and president of Laiye, said this round of funding will be primarily applied to global expansion and product development to help businesses achieve end-to-end intelligent automation. Laiye aims to enhance its RPA offering with native AI capability, compatibility with more operating systems like Linux and Android, and deployability on all major cloud platforms. The company will keep recruiting top talent to develop industry-specific solutions and strengthen its developer and partner ecosystem.
Wang Guanchun, Chairman and CEO of Laiye, said, "Laiye has been growing its developer community by organizing RPA + AI competitions and launching a bot store that connects SMBs that have automation needs to freelancing developers. Laiye aims to foster the world's largest developer community for software robots and build the world's largest bot marketplace in the next three years. We plan to certify at least 1 million software robot developers by 2025. We believe that the digital workforce and intelligent automation will reach all walks of life as long as more human workers can be upskilled with knowledge in RPA and AI."
About Ping An Group
Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China, Ltd. ("Ping An") is a world-leading technology-powered retail financial services group. With over 218 million retail customers and 598 million internet users, Ping An is one of the largest financial services companies in the world. Ping An focuses on two over-arching domains of activity, "pan financial assets" and "pan health care", covering the provision of financial and health care services through our integrated financial services platform and our ecosystems; in financial services, health care, auto services and smart city services. Our "finance + technology" and "finance + ecosystem" transformation strategies aim to provide customers and internet users with innovative and simple products and services using technology. As China's first joint stock insurance company, Ping An is committed to upholding the highest standards of corporate reporting and corporate governance. The Group is listed on the stock exchanges in Hong Kong and Shanghai. In 2020, Ping An ranked 7th in the Forbes Global 2000 list and ranked 21st in the Fortune Global 500 list. Ping An also ranked 38th in the 2020 WPP Kantar Millward Brown BrandZTM Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands list.
About Ping An Global Voyager Fund
Established in 2017 by Ping An, the Ping An Global Voyager Fund is a Hong Kong-based investor in growth stage fintech and healthtech companies. The fund typically invests between US$15 million and US$50 million in non-control positions in companies where an affiliation with Ping An is likely to create significant value over time. Global Voyager has invested approximately US$350 million across Europe, Asia and North America.
Laiye has rich experience in RPA + AI and helps business and people realize their full potential by optimizing the human-machine collaborative alliance with sophisticated, dynamic, productivity-enhancing digital, low-code "workforce solutions". Laiye delivers the deepest, most advanced AI/RPA/NLP solutions to help businesses become more efficient, effective, agile, and successful. And it frees people to focus on meaningful, innovative, mission-critical initiatives.
Core technologies include robotic process automation (RPA), process mining, natural language processing (NLP), conversational intelligence, text recognition, and image recognition.
SOURCE Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China, Ltd.