VR, Robots, Smart Cars: Where Will the Next Unicorn Come From?
VR: A “gold mine” full of pits
Two years ago, when Facebook CEO Zuckerberg gritted his teeth and signed his name on the acquisition agreement, the giant spent $2 billion to complete the acquisition of Oculus. This scene is the first glimpse of the VR industry for many people. At that time, more people did not know what VR was. But time has only moved forward two years, and as we see it, a whole new world is on the horizon.
In the first quarter of this year, as the three international VR giants, Oculus, Sony, and HTC, successively released a new generation of consumer-grade products, entrants shouted that the first year of VR is coming. Today, in this industry, there are more entrepreneurs than VR products, and more investors who pay attention to this field than entrepreneurs. At the same time, some startups with “unicorn” temperament continue to emerge.
As a first-line VR hardware manufacturer in China, Lexiang Technology has a lot of background, and the “golden master” behind it is Lei Jun. In December last year, companies such as Xiaomi and Xunlei made a splash when they invested $30 million in Lexiang. Its founder is Chen Chaoyang, who has been immersed in the VR industry for more than ten years. He has witnessed the development of the domestic VR industry from making military headsets to today’s consumer-grade VR headsets, from Intel to starting a business on his own. At present, Lexiang focuses on providing VR equipment for games. Its most well-known product is the Dapeng helmet, which is one of the most likely to become a “popular” VR hardware in China in the future.
Although it has long since become a second- and third-rate video website, Baofengyingyin has always claimed that it is a technology company and is only interested in product research and development, so it launched this hardware product – Baofeng Magic Mirror. From the user experience point of view, there is still a big gap between the Storm Mirror and user needs, and the problems of dizziness and blurring have been criticized. However, with the help of “VR + film and television”, Baofeng Magic Mirror still attracts many “early adopters”. As of the first quarter of this year, this product has sold more than 1 million units in total, occupying “half of the country” in the domestic VR glasses market. .
Ant Vision Technology
The “fighting” with Oculus in the early years made Ant Vision Technology become popular in the domestic VR circle. In December last year, the company completed a 300 million yuan Series B financing, with a valuation of 830 million. In fact, Ant Vision has a lot of “black history”. From crowdfunding on Kickstarter, to the first product launch, to the subsequent employee resignation disputes, the company has been caught in a “war of words”. At present, Ant Vision has launched mobile VR headsets and PC headsets, and has also cooperated with Lenovo to launch Lemont Ant Vision VR glasses. Different from most VR manufacturers gathering game and film, Ant Vision Technology focuses on “VR + sports”, and expects to become the “leader” of domestic sports events VR live broadcast in the future.
Shenzhen Virtual Reality Technology Co., Ltd.
As one of the earliest companies engaged in the VR industry in China, Shenzhen Virtual Reality Technology Co., Ltd. was formerly known as Jingwei Technology, and its main product is 3Glasses, which is the first immersive VR headset in Asia. In June last year, the second generation of 3Glasses was launched, and it has become the product with the highest definition in the domestic VR helmet market. It is worth mentioning that, in addition to some attempts in “VR + tourism”, the company also announced in-depth cooperation with Chunshuitang last year, and may launch VR adult content in the future.
Founded in 2014, Lingjing VR’s qualifications are not deep, but it is quite topical. Since it received a US$10 million investment from LeTV, the company has once become a “sweet pastry” in the capital market. At present, Lingjing has launched two VR devices, namely a “Lingjing Xiaobai” with the main theater function and a mobile VR all-in-one machine “Lingjing Xiaohe”. The market feedback of Lingjing Xiaobai is good. LeTV attaches great importance to Lingjing VR and regards it as an important part of its own VR ecological chain, but today’s VR hardware is still in the stage of “burning money”, and Lingjing VR may still need a steady stream of “blood transfusions”.
VR hardware investment has passed, and unicorns are difficult to reproduce? Despite the constant voices of the market, according to the latest report released by iResearch, the financing of domestic VR hardware developers still accounts for 51.9% of the entire VR industry. It is still the sector that attracts the most attention from investors and is also the most competitive sector. This is where VR investing is interesting. Even though investing in hardware is extremely risky, there is still a steady stream of entrants.
“VR is a gold mine full of pits”, which is the attitude of many investors towards VR at present. They are cautious but optimistic, and they always believe that the future of VR is bright. Therefore, in the capital market, the story of VR will continue to be told. And the next VR unicorn may be slowly coming to us.
Robots: The industry is hot, but financing is still difficult
In addition to VR, domestic capital has been eyeing artificial intelligence represented by robots.
From the amazing robot dance on the spring evening of 2016 to the “Battle of the Century” between Google Alpha GO and Lee Sedol not long ago, the “robot whirlwind” has been blown over and over again. Naturally, the capital market will not turn a blind eye to this upsurge. Coupled with the support of national policies, we can see that some domestic robot companies stand out.
As the first listed robot company in China, SIASUN robot products have remarkable technical content, among whichindustryRobot products have filled many gaps in China. Clean robots have broken the monopoly of foreign technology many times, and have been successfully exported to 13 countries and regions around the world, rewriting the history of Chinese robots only imported but not exported. Today, with the start of the domestic service robot market, SIASUN robots are gradually shifting towards civilian use in terms of product types, further consolidating their leading position in the domestic Robot Industry.
As a manufacturing giant, Joyson Electronics seems to prefer to “show up” in the capital market. Since 2009, the company has been going further and further on the road of “buy, buy, buy”, successively acquired Shanghai Huade, German Preh, and recently acquired auto parts giants KSS and TechniSat Digital GmbH in one go. business.Currently, JoysonautomationThe main technology of robots and robots comes from the company’s subsidiaries Preh and IMA, both of which are at the forefront of the global Industrial robot and automation segment.
Founded in 2002, Estun got his wish on the New Third Board last year, becoming another “pure” domestic robot concept stock after Xinsong Robot. It is worth mentioning that, in addition to the outsourcing of reducers, Estun’s robot research and development has achieved localization. Not long ago, Estun participated in the establishment of an advanced manufacturing industry merger and acquisition fund, trying to use capital to “eat the small” and grow.
Dogtail Grass Technology
Different from many Industrial Robot companies, Setaria Technology, established in 2013, is an emotional social robot research and development company. The “Gongzi Xiaobai” designed by his team for two years is all good at selling cute and playful treasures. The main user group is young and new generation users, and it mainly focuses on the three functions of “social networking, pets, and intelligent IoT”. As a “darling” in the capital market, Gongzi Xiaobai Robot has not only received investment from star Hu Haiquan, but also completed a pre-A round of financing of tens of millions in October last year, with a post-investment valuation of 130 million yuan, and also refreshed the domestic market. The fastest next round of financing in the history of crowdfunding.
At present, there are more than 4,000 domestic companies that claim to be robots. With the encouragement and support of national industrial policies, this expansion trend may continue, but it is quite embarrassing that the development of domestic robots is still at the low end. field and price competition.
Although some domestic robot companies are enjoying the “bath” of capital, in this industry, the problem of financing difficulties has always been around. The robotics industry is a forward-looking industry with a long investment return period and requires long-term investment from investors. Today, the domestic robot industry has been “burned” by capital. If the “dry firewood” behind cannot keep up, there is a danger of being extinguished at any time, and the last thing left is probably ashes.
Smart car: money can’t fill the “pit” on the road
“This is a car heading for the future.” In the field of hardware, smart cars have also been favored by capital in recent years. Whether it’s Google’s driverless car or Apple’s pure electric car code-named “Project Titan”, smart cars have already transformed from a mere means of transportation to the “next internet portal”, and at the same time bring unlimited capital to the imagination space.
In China, with the entry of BAT and LeTV, the entire smart car industry has quietly entered the “Warring States Era”.
As early as three years ago, Baidu followed Google’s lead and launched the “driverless car” project, one of Robin Li’s most ambitious projects. Then, Baidu released the intelligent connected car product “CarNet”. This product is supported by API and part of software provided by Baidu LBS department, and the partner company Tema IoV is responsible for the hardware part. In December last year, Baidu’s driverless car officially hit the road, completing the test for the first time. Although it was once questioned as “fried cold rice”, Baidu’s “car building” plan has not been affected. According to its plan, Baidu’s unmanned vehicles will be mass-produced in the next five years and enter the lives of the people.
Tencent, which is good at “layout”, will naturally not be absent from the “window” of smart cars. In May 2014, Tencent released Lobo Box and established the “i-car life platform”, officially announcing its entry into the Internet of Vehicles.Later, Tencent announced its shareholdingNavInfo(24.89,0.300,1.22%), became its second largest shareholder. Through this series of acquisitions, Tencent has made great strides in the Internet of Vehicles. The highlight is that Tencent has cooperated with Foxconn and Harmony Automobile in the field of “Internet + smart electric vehicles”, and recently even “packaged” BMW’s entire smart car R&D team.
Although it is a bit late, Ali has caught up with the investment feast of smart cars.In March last year, Ali andSAIC(20.25,0.080,0.40%)They jointly announced that they will jointly establish a 1 billion yuan Internet car fund. The fund will promote the construction of an Internet car development and operation platform. In the future, it will be an open capital platform to attract more Internet car participants. One is the leader of China’s auto industry for many years, and the other is the leader of China’s Internet companies. The alliance between the two has brought infinite reverie. What is even more exciting is that the first Internet car jointly developed by the two parties will be launched this year.
As Jia Yueting shouted out the slogan “To build a car in the end,” LeEco’s “build a car” drama officially kicked off. In 2014, LeTV announced the SEE plan for the first time, making the car-building plan public. Since then, LeEco has been making various “gimmicks” in a high-profile manner, first with industry leaders such as Ding Lei and Lv Zhengyu, and then with BAIC and Aston Martin. In April of this year, the company officially launched the LeSEE concept prototype, and the controversy of “PTT car manufacturing” has come to an end for the time being. Previously, there were rumors that the first round of financing for LeEco Super Auto had been completed, with a financing amount of more than 5 billion yuan.
When it comes to NIO, I believe that even most people in the industry are confused, which is not surprising, because this is a new company that is still in the preparatory stage, and the relevant information is highly confidential and has not been officially announced to the public. The new energy vehicle company established at the end of 2014 was registered overseas with an initial registered capital of US$500 million. There are five major investment entities, namely Li Bin, chairman and CEO of Yiche.com, Li Xiang, founder of Autohome, JD.com, Tencent and Hillhouse Capital. However, the specific share ratio composition is still unknown. Li Xiang once said that NIO’s first product will be a high-performance electric sports car, which “will benchmark Tesla and do better”, which is expected.
It is not difficult to see that the current domestic Internet companies “building a car” are basically not the traditional auto industry’s play, nor the Tesla model, but a compromise method, that is, not participating in the industrial manufacturing part of the car, and It is to inject Internet genes and technologies into automobile companies through strategic cooperation and investment, making it an electric car with “Internet genes”.
Although the smart car industry has promising prospects, its development also faces constraints in infrastructure, security, laws and ethics. For a smart car to hit the road as “smart” as people expect, it may have to bypass many “pits”.
Looking back at the past, the smart hardware market has not yet fully exploded. From mobile phones and wearable devices in previous years to today’s VR, robots, and smart cars, there are different investment “windows” at different stages.One side is the Internet, the other side is the traditional manufacturing industry, two industries that do not seem to matchMobile Internet(2640.34,2.770,0.11%)Under the tide of the Internet, they have gathered together to produce an amazing chemical reaction, subverting the industry with the trend of destroying the dead. Looking at the moment, whether it is VR, robots or smart cars, there may be the next unicorn behind.
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