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Chinese semiconductor design startup AkroStar scores USD 62 million from Hillhouse and Sequoia

Written by Song Jingli Published on     2 mins read

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Akrostar is just one of many domestics chip companies that are gaining investors’ favor as the country seeks to be self-reliant in core technologies like semiconductors.

Zhuhai-headquartered semiconductor firm AkroStar, known as Xinyaohui in China, has closed its angel round and pre-A round to collect more than RMB 400 million (USD 62 million) in total, according to an announcement from one investor 5Y Capital on Wednesday.

The pre-A round was co-led by GL Ventures, which is Hillhouse Capital’s early-stage investment unit, Sequoia China Capital, V Fund, as well as Gaorong Capital. Green Pine Capital Partners, state-owned Da Heng Qin Group, 5Y Capital, and Panorama Capital all joined the latest round, along with angel round investors Zhenfund and Da Shu Changqing investment firm.

Founded in just June 2020, the company aims to provide Intellectual Property (IP) to chipmakers, which are the major building blocks of complex and highly integrated systems on chips (SoCs), which are found in almost every intelligent electronic device.

IP, like the EDA (Electronic Design Automation) tool, is a key technology in the upstream production of semiconductors, but overseas companies have dominated the sector thus far, said 5Y Capital’s Zeng Ying.

“In the long run, we believe that Chinese companies can also have international staying power in such key technologies, and AkroStar is one of the best startups in the sector,” Zeng added.

AkroStar’s advantage lies in that the company has already proven that its major IP can meet chip design companies and foundries’ needs, according to AkroStar founder and CEO Zeng Keqiang. Before forming his own business, he accumulated more than two decades of working experience in the semiconductor sector, serving companies including Silicon valley-based Synopsys, which offers EDA tools as well as IP.

AkroStar is just one of the various domestic chip companies that are gaining investors’ favor as the country seeks to be self-reliant in key core technologies.

Shanghai-headquartered VeriSilicon Microelectronics went public via the Shanghai Star Market in August 2020, as the first-ever Chinese chip IP stock. The company closed at RMB 75.27 (USD 11.7) on Wednesday, well above its IPO price of RMB 38.53.

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