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Electric Carmaker BYTON Secures $500 Million in Series B Round

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【Summary】BYTON, the EV startup that is going up against Tesla with its luxury electric SUV, today concluded its successful Series-B fundraising round of $500 million from multiple major investors that include FAW Group, Tus-Holdings and CATL.

Eric Walz    Jun 11, 2018 10:39 AM PT
Electric Carmaker BYTON Secures $500 Million in Series B Round
author: Eric Walz   

BYTON, the EV startup that is going up against Tesla with its luxury electric SUV, today concluded its successful Series-B fundraising round of $500 million from multiple major investors that include FAW Group, Tus-Holdings and CATL. The funding puts the electric vehicle startup in a strong financial position for continued progress in mass production, R&D and product development.

"The success of this funding round highlights how diversified strategic investors will further expand BYTON's circle of friends and broaden our development opportunities," said Dr. Daniel Kirchert, president and co-founder, BYTON. "BYTON is establishing a new benchmark for auto start-ups with four essential ‘must haves', namely Technology, Product, Capital and Factory."

BYTON also announced the opening of its global headquarters in Nanjing, China, forming a global operation centered in Nanjing, with a R&D center in Silicon Valley and a design center in Munich, Germany.

BYTON unveiled its first "smart intuitive vehicle" concept SUV at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in January. The vehicle includes facial recognition access, assistive driving technologies and hand gesture controls.

The BYTON concept car also features a 49-inch, edge-to-edge dashboard display and a smaller one embedded into the steering wheel, which can monitor in real time the health and vital signs of the driver.

3-BYTON Shared Experience Display.jpg

BYTON's "Shared Experience Display"

In addition, the construction of BYTON's smart manufacturing base in Nanjing is in progress. The company's first batch of prototype models is set to roll out in April 2019 for testing, with the pilot production program starting in the first half of 2019, and Q4 as the target timing for the first mass production model to be launched into market.

"As a world leader in smart mobility, we aim to build BYTON into a global premium brand with ‘China Root, Global Reach' as the core of our development strategy," said Dr. Carsten Breitfeld, CEO and co-founder, BYTON. "By combining our expertise in R&D and traditional car-making with innovative Internet technologies, we aspire to pioneer a smart mobility revolution."

Nanjing, China has evolved to become a regional center of excellence for the development of smart manufacturing, with BYTON's global headquarters introducing top-line international and domestic suppliers and partners to Nanjing. BYTON's strategy to optimize its global supply chain will also reinforce Nanjing's development as an eco-friendly, smart and high-end whole-automobile industry chain.

"The opening of our global headquarters in Nanjing is just the latest in the comprehensive advancement of BYTON's R&D, production, and operations," added Dr. Kirchert. "At the same time, with further acceleration in developing the BYTON value chain for smart mobility, we will contribute to the formation of a smart industry cluster in Nanjing."

BYTON is one of several ambitious Chinese electric-vehicle startups that are competing to establish their presence in China and abroad. The others include Xiaopeng Motors, NIO and Weltmeister Motor.

The companies have all been founded within the past four years, and they have attracted investments from some of China's biggest names in tech, including Alibaba Group Holding, Tencent Holdings and Baidu. They also have received support from local governments.

BYTON's CEO and co-founder, Carsten Breitfeld, is an engineer who spent 20 years at BMW, including more than 10 years as BMW Group vice president. Byton's president and co-founder, Daniel Kirchert, once served as managing director of Infiniti China and president of Dongfeng Infiniti Motor.

"We are premium brands with German technology to make cars smart," Breitfeld told Nikkei in May, noting that BYTON focuses on user experience, with various functions controlled by gestures or voice commands.

In February, BYTON announced a partnership with Aurora, a self-driving startup based in Silicon Valley co-founded by Chris Urmson, the former head of Google's self-driving car project. Aurora is working with BYTON on AI-based self-driving technology.

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