HONG KONG -- Alibaba-backed self-service car wash company Yigongli (YGL) has raised "hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars" across two tranches in a Series D round to become China's latest unicorn, a company valued at over $1 billion.
The transactions include a Series D1 round from Sigma Delta Partners Investment, which focuses on prime properties in China's Tier I cities, and a Series D2 round from Goldman Sachs Asset Management, the startup announced in a news release.
The investment and advisory services unit of Goldman Sachs will help YGL's global expansion and efforts to attract high-end talent.
Sigma Delta Partners is expected to leverage its real estate capabilities to help acquire new locations for YGL's facilities, said the startup.
Developed by Shanghai Helios Network Technology, YGL -- also known as 1km -- plans to use the new financing to boost automation along with research and development into self-driving technology.
Founded in 2014, YGL sells unmanned 24/7 car wash stations and also offers after-sales solutions and products. As of August, the Hangzhou-based startup operates over 2,500 car wash stations near auto repair shops, gas stations, office buildings, supermarkets and parking lots across 138 cities in China.
The new unicorn, which has served over 12 million users, is looking to cash in on opportunities in the world's largest automobile market. As of June, there were about 384 million registered vehicles in China, with over two-thirds being cars, according to China's Ministry of Public Security. Official statistics show that newly registered cars in the country reached 14.14 million in the first half of 2021, up 35.8% from the same period in 2020.
To fuel growth, the startup has completed 10 rounds of equity financing since its inception. In its latest Series C round, YGL secured over 600 million yuan ($92.8 million) across three tranches of capital injections last May.
Backers include state-owned insurer People's Insurance Company of China, private equity fund Centurium Capital, and ClearVue Partners, a PE company that focuses on China's consumer sector.
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba invested in YGL in 2018.
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