Beyond Ventures and Linear Capital lead US$9m investment in Insights Robotics in a move to benefit the world by embracing technological innovation
Funding will enable Insight Robotics to build on its leadership in Asia Pacific while developing new technologies
HONG KONG, May 12, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Hong Kong venture capital fund Beyond Ventures has joined with Linear Capital of Shanghai to lead a US$9 million investment that will benefit forestry in national parks and other natural resources all over the world.
Other entities involved are Brizan Investments co-founded by Professor Ping K Ko - former Dean of the School of Engineering at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
They are funding Insight Robotics, which pursues a mission to facilitate risk management of the world's assets by generating and making sense of data.
The company optimises management of forestry, agricultural land and oil palm plantations. It provides intelligence based on multispectral and spatial data from aerial and terrestrial sensors to facilitate early detection of man-made and natural threats to forestry.
One major outcome is enabling environmentally and economically-sustainable management of the world's national parks, as well as conservation areas and commercial forests.
The funding will enable Insight Robotics to build on its leadership in Asia Pacific, while developing new technologies. One beneficiary will be a project to develop a high-speed, high-resolution multispectral aerial survey camera designed to gather data by covering very large tracts of agricultural land. The camera's advanced data-processing algorithms yield best-in-class image quality.
Another project focuses on a big data storage application that enables fast extraction of spatial data. It tracks changes over time and drives a data-mining process carried out by smart algorithms.
All three venture capital firms share a goal with Insight Robotics to make the world a better place by embracing technological innovation.
A prime example was highlighted by Kevin Chan, Co-founder and CEO of Insight Robotics. He explained how the company was inspired by WALL-E, the science fiction movie, to design robots that are now improving fire detection to slash carbon emissions around the planet.
The significance of the breakthrough is that the deliberate burning of forests is responsible for about 30% of global carbon emissions, but some 1.5 million hectares of land are now being protected following deployment of more than 100 wildfire detection robots.
Kevin said: "We are delighted to receive funding from Beyond Ventures, Linear Capital and Brizan Investments. We are especially pleased Beyond Ventures has brought the highly-respected Linear Capital organisation on board."
Expanding on the aerial survey element of the company's forestry management efforts, he said: "Our solution facilitates the full data journey - from data generation through to harvesting, processing, storage, analytics and visualisation."
He added: "This will transform the entire risk management industry by virtue of a real-time risk assessment model. We are talking about a move from hedging financial risk with insurance, or buying commodity futures, to mitigating risk with data-generated intelligence."
Lap Man, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Beyond Ventures, believes Insight Robotics is part of a nascent-yet-booming industry.
He said: "A new era of the service industry being served by drones is opening up and will represent a larger opportunity than the drone market itself. Insight Robotics presides over its own core technology in photogrammetry, pattern recognition and database management - all in the context of the forestry management market.
Lap Man reiterated the Beyond Ventures slogan - "From Hong Kong For Hong Kong" - and said the company is pleased to invest in a hi-tech start-up founded by a local entrepreneur who graduated from The Chinese University of Hong Kong.
He added: "We were also happy to bring in Linear Capital, which has invested extensively in the fields of artificial intelligence and big data, and holds a wealth of experience in the mainland China market."
Linear Capital VP Can Zheng said: "The Insight Robotics team has long been focused on large-scale aerial survey data processing and has accumulated in-depth hardware and software technology know-how. The application of big data technology to forestry and agriculture is still in its infancy, but the market potential is huge."
He added: "We hope development of data collection and processing technology will empower the company to provide high-calibre value-added services, such as risk assessment and management, to help its customers achieve real-time management driven by meaningful data."
Highlighting the contribution to the world made by the way Insight Robotics safeguards natural resources with intelligent threat detection, Lap Man said: "Beyond Ventures is not just about seeking return on investment - we also want to bring about a positive impact on society."
About Beyond Ventures
Beyond Ventures is a Hong Kong-based venture capital fund established by eGarden Ventures in partnership with locally-grown serial entrepreneurs. eGarden Ventures is a venture capital fund focused on technology, media and telecoms (TMT) and holds an 18-year investment track record in mainland China. The fund is also supported by leading investment company Hony Capital, which manages more than US$10 billion in assets.
Adopting the slogan "From Hong Kong For Hong Kong", Beyond Ventures seeks to revitalise Hong Kong's innovation ecosystem by bringing experienced venture and private equity funds together with successful entrepreneurs able to provide start-ups with mentoring support.
Running the fund is a trio comprising Alex Fang, a seasoned venture capitalist in Hong Kong and mainland China and co-founder of eGarden Ventures; Lap Man, Founder and CEO of DYXnet Group; and Marvin Hung, Vice Chairman of Hung's Group and Executive Director and CEO of Hop Hing Group Holdings Limited (stock code: 47).
Beyond Ventures is the only venture capital fund focusing solely on Hong Kong. It aims to help start-ups grow and extend their business networks throughout and beyond Hong Kong by drawing on vast experience accumulated by the founders, as well as the extensive resources held in mainland China and elsewhere by Hony Capital and eGarden Ventures. For more information about Beyond Ventures, please visit the official website at www.beyondventures.hk
About Insight Robotics
Insight Robotics Limited is a pioneering technology company founded in Hong Kong. The organisation underwent a restructuring exercise in 2017 in order to align more effectively with its vision and mission, while facilitating active risk management of the world's assets by generating and making sense of data - all to make the world a better and safer place. Insight Robotics develops automated technology to provide industry data-driven insights via which to quantify risks and plan accordingly. Industry professionals are able to use real-time data collected from robots and sensors - and presented by our geospatial intelligence system (GIS) platform - to contain dangerous or costly situations in a timely manner. For more information, please visit www.insightrobotics.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Linear Capital
Linear Capital is a Shanghai-based early stage venture focused on applied data intelligence start-ups and was founded by former Facebook employee and first Chinese Engineering Manager Harry Wang, along with former JD and Tmall executive Michael Zhang. Linear Capital has invested in more than 40 start-ups in China as a major focus, as well as companies in Silicon Valley and Southeast Asia. Technologies involved include big data, DaaS (Data-as-a-Service), Fintech and AI+infrastructure. Star portfolio companies include Horizon Robotics, Rokid, Kujiale, Seeta, Sensors Data, Tongdun, Dianrong and Tezign. For more information, please go to www.linear.vc.