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China startup's AI-based monitoring system helps build smart cities

Shanghai-based Supremind raises almost $14.6m in pre-Series A round, eyes growth

Supermind Intelligent Technology deploys video analytics systems on highways to improve traffic department management efficiency. (Photo courtesy of Supremind Intelligent Technology)

BEIJING -- Supremind Intelligent Technology, a Chinese artificial intelligence-based video analysis startup, has raised nearly 100 million yuan ($14.6 million) in a pre-series A round, 36Kr has learned.

The lead investor is Creo Capital, a financial unit of Hong Kong-based conglomerate New World Development. Angel round investors, including Linear Venture and Redpoint Ventures China, also increased their stakes in the Shanghai-based startup.

With the fundraising, Supremind said it will enhance industrial solutions, product lineups and technical development with NWS Holdings, an infrastructure unit of its strategic partner New World Development. It will also aim to increase its market share and expand its business sphere.

Supremind was founded in 2019. Its core members have been engaged in research and development of still images, video deep learning and large-scale application systems for more than 10 years. They are tackling real problems facing urban areas using video analysis and AI technology.

The company offers products in five areas: transportation management, passenger traffic control, urban governance, public service administration systems and internet content screening. Supremind products have already been adopted in about 200 Chinese cities. In particular, its smart transportation products are being utilized in more than 100 cities.

Urban governance solutions are being adopted by local governments under the jurisdictions of Shanghai City and Zhejiang Province, while the public service administration system is used by numerous public security systems departments in Shanghai. Internet content screening is used across China by Offices of the Central Leading Group for Cyberspace Affairs.

As traffic management has become increasingly difficult and snarls and accidents have occurred frequently, existing human-intensive video monitoring systems have proved to be inefficient and ineffective.

Supremind has developed its own VisionMind big data platform using NWS Holdings' industrial resources on roads and transportation. VisionMind installed on highways enables more efficient management of traffic departments by identifying, analyzing and issuing warnings on traffic violations, illegal acts, accidents, traffic volume and specialized vehicles based on big data obtained from still images and videos.

Also, Supremind expects that sales from smart transportation management will make up the bulk of its total sales this year. The company will target government offices, institutions and road operators. Through yearly contracts or contracts per project, the company expects to recoup its investments within the period of one month. Supremind plans to at least double the market's size and boost sales to more than 100 million yuan this year.

The company in April formed a strategic alliance with NWS Holdings with the aim of combining their industry influence, technological edges and market resources to develop smart highways and architecture management systems.

Founder Peng Yao plans to first apply AI-powered video analysis to smart transportation management and then to smart city construction in the future.

Christopher Cheng, managing partner at Creo Capital, was asked why it invested in Supremind. "With the government's new infrastructure initiative, China's AI industry will grow in a better way," Cheng said."Supremind has a mature team, solid industrial structure and ability, and founder Peng Yao has an excellent business model and strategic perspective."

Cheng added: "Together with Supremind, NWS Holdings will grow and make the best use of Supremind's product lineups in areas such as roads and architecture. The two companies will create a smart management that can be the industry's benchmark and will help build smart infrastructure facilities."

36Kr, a Chinese tech news portal founded in Beijing in 2010, has more than 150 million readers worldwide. Nikkei announced a partnership with 36Kr on May 22, 2019.

For the Japanese version of this story, click here.

For the Chinese version, click here.

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