Logistics firm G7 claims record $320m IoT funding round, headed by TEV, Tencent
Chinese internet of things (IoT) company G7 Networks has completed a $320 million funding round, with investments from Total Energy Ventures (TEV) International, Tencent, and GLP, among others. The value of the fund-raising round set a new record in the global IoT start-up sector, it said.
G7 Networks, with headquarters in Beijing and offices in 58 cities in China, specialises in the logistics sector in China, with many of the country’s largest logistics companies on its books for fleet management services. The company provides real-time tracking and monitoring solutions for all manner of fleet and freight vehicles. It also partners with a number of municipalities, warehouses, financial institutions, petrol stations, and vehicle OEMs.
It offers an artificial intelligence (AI) IoT platform for fleet management, covering safety, energy, payments, and financing, as well as ‘smart-equipment-as-service’. It is also developing an autonomous trucking network, serving more 60,000 customers and 800,000 commercial vehicles.
The company claims to be the world’s “largest integrated fleet management platform”. It has grown with the Chinese government’s policy to digitise the country’s logistics sector as part of its broader efforts upgrade national road infrastructure. “G7 is uniquely positioned at the crossroads of road and technology to build the most robust and widely used logistic system in the world,” the company said.
But the new $320 million investment is geared towards a global view. There are 220 million unconnected vehicles in Europe alone, it said in a statement. G7 “stood out” in the global logistics sector as a candidate for investors with “the largest share and the most comprehensive portfolio”.
Commenting on the new funding, Girish Nadkarni, chief executive at TEV, said: “The new investment in G7 will largely enhance TEV’s presence in the fast growing market. We believe there will be important potential value to be unlocked for TEV and G7 catalysed by this investment.”
Xuehun Zhai, founder and chief executive at G7, said: “Technology is having a profound impact on the industry. Based on IoT, big data, and artificial intelligence, the smart fleet model is fundamentally changing the way fleets operate and is forming a new generation of logistics infrastructure with improved efficiency. G7 is looking forward to working with investors and partners, through the use of innovative technologies, to accelerate the industry transformation.”
Julian Ma, president of G7, commented: “Artificial intelligence in IoT is reinventing transportation and logistics equipment. Intelligent equipment and asset-as-a-service are the next big waves. The scale of our data and neutrality of our industry-wide platform are at the core of our competitive edge. We are determined to proactively invest in intelligent equipment and infrastructure so that we will continue to lead the change.”
G7 has a new ‘central-axis’ car transporter, running AI and bog data programmes, that improves efficiency and safety for vehicle transport.
The ‘central-axis’ transporter is equipped with a vehicle sensing system that records the number vehicles as they are loaded and unloaded. New car owners can know their vehicle’s status in real-time. Meanwhile, a smart dispatch platform analyses orders, scans for spaces, and selects the best transporter. Orders are dynamically scheduled to improve the loading rate. Driving data is recorded in real-time – including for fuel consumption, mileage, profitability, and safety – and driver records are generated with each delivery.
Meanwhile, the ‘central-axis’ transporter features a number of safety improvements, including anti-rollover, electronic braking, and brake intervention. Certain digital and automation tools are included too, such as facial recognition technology to detect driver fatigue – alarms sound when the technology picks up on closed eyes and yawns.
The assisted driving system scans road conditions and provides warnings for collision, lane departure, pedestrian detection, and other alerts to forestall any accident.
Last week, US industrial IoT and AI startup MachineMetrics announced $11.3 million in Series A funding for its factory analytics solution. Venture capital has been staked in growing confidence on the IoT sector in recent months. Notable deals include $10 million for Sigfox operator UnaBiz, $23 million for industrial IoT firm Seeq, and $4,6 million for California based Falkonry, also into industrial analytics.