The funding has been led by the US-China Green Fund with co-investment from Banyan China Capital
AIpark has completed its Series A financing of over 100 million RMB (China Yuan), which will enable it to advance its green smart transportation technologies for cities. The round of investment was led by US-China Green Fund with co-investment from Banyan China Capital.
The start-up, based in Beijing, utilises fourth-generation parking technology to manage city-wide road-side and garage parking systems. AIpark’s chairman, Jun Yan, said the financing will be used to strengthen its research and development so that it can roll out more smart technologies, products, and services.
AIpark is in the process of developing its AII Blue Brain or Artificial Intelligence Identification Blue Brain, which combines scenario intelligence, supercomputing, and scenario recognition technologies to achieve fully autonomous management and monitoring of parking facilities. It aims to disrupt existing business models and the competitive landscape, leading the industry into the next level of innovation.
Its technologies are already in use in a number of Chinese cities. As of July 2017, the number of motor vehicles in China has exceeded 300 million. At the same time, the shortage of urban parking spaces has grown continuously. Lack of information flow between parking lot operators and drivers has led to low utilisation of parking spaces. AIpark has introduced AIpark City and AIpark One intelligent parking management systems to specifically address city public parking and commercial building parking problems.
So far, AIpark City has already launched in Beijing, Shijiazhuang and Handan, substantially improving the quality of public parking services, reducing operating costs, and more than doubling revenues. More than one thousand parking lots in Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Shijiazhuang, Handan, Zhangjiakou, Xi’an, and Jinan have successfully integrated AIpark One into their management systems. The use of AIpark One has helped operators increase more than 50 per cent in revenue and reduce 60 per cent in operating costs.
AIpark intends to begin operations in Hong Kong and Singapore in the near-term.
US-China Green Fund CEO Bo Bai stated: "The first and foremost challenge facing the creation of green smart cities is traffic congestion, environmental degradation, and high energy consumption. This is where our Fund comes in to address the issue.
"With our investment approach that combines industry expertise with technology and capital, we can help various vertical sectors, including the parking business, achieve energy savings and green upgrades."
Banyan China Capital founding partner Zhen Zhang said: "AIpark is an exemplary company in the industry that utilises advanced technologies to improve the efficiency of urban operations. The company’s management has created an advanced, comprehensive city-wide solution that has quickly taken off.
"We believe AIpark will help cities significantly improve their urban transportation while creating value for its customers."
When asked about the rationale behind the investment, Dr Bai added: “Technology and scale are the major drivers of profitability in the operations and management of the parking business.
"AIpark is the world’s first company that has commercially applied fully intelligent image recognition technology to address the main challenges of urban development. The company has already taken several major Chinese cities and become an industry leader."
Over the years, local governments in China have actively introduced relevant laws and regulations and implemented a variety of technologies such as handheld PDA terminals, ground magnetic sensors, and video polls to address parking challenges. However, constrained by physical spaces, these devices have not achieved satisfactory results due to issues such as existence of blind spots, difficulties in obtaining violation evidence, and physical damage to road surfaces.
Dr Bai explained that the US-China Green Fund has been systematically analysing the parking industry and added: “It was eye-opening to see AIpark’s business model. With our cross-border integration capabilities, we can help AIpark expand its business to overseas market."
The fund is a commercially-run private equity fund whose mission is to promote sustainable green development in China through innovative US-China collaborations in finance, green technology and business models.
The Green Fund has developed a unique five-pillared business model "PRIME." (Policy, Research, Integration, Money and Execution), to leverage policy support and use "industry + technology + capital" investment strategy to support strong execution teams to achieve its goal to "Invest · Greenergise China."
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