Pony.ai, the autonomous driving startup, has had a positive week as it received news that Beijing Kunlun Wanwei plans to back it with $50 million in exchange for 3% of its shares.
The news was met with big smiles by the founders of Pony.ai, who mentioned that the money would help facilitate their second round of financing. The $50 million adds to the $102 million the startup last received, and thus bringing its total value to almost $1 billion. To date, the startup has raised funds totaling around $214 million.
It is no surprise that Kunlun decided to take a 3% stake in the self-driving startup. Pony.ai has been impressive in its business approach and expansion, and in the last year alone, only Baidu covered more mileage in Beijing than it.
Although a household name in China, Kunlun is still gaining recognition in the global field, mostly due to the fact that it faces constant competition from Internet technology big shots like NetEase and Tencent. As a way to diversify its portfolio, Kunlun has dived into investing, and in its 11 years in existence, it has become known as a savvy investor.
Back in 2016, Kunlun forked out $600 million for Opera in exchange for a 48% stake. In 2018 it acquired Grindr, after shelling out a total of $152 million. Then there’s Musical.ly, in which Kumlun invested $20 million, before selling it to ByteDance for $41.08 million in 2017.
Other investments include owning a 19.2% stake in Qudian, the first Chinese fintech company to appear on Nasdaq), and also $10 million in Inke, one of the largest live-streaming apps in China.
The details above provide insight into how lucrative Kunlun’s investment portfolio is, and why it is being tagged as a savvy investor by many.