Hesai is a technology company focused on developing laser sensors. The current product line consists of LiDARs for self-driving cars and robots, including Pandar40 (mechanical), PandarGT (solid-state), and Pandora (all-in-one sensing kit), as well as laser gas leak detectors used for safety inspections in the energy industry.
Hesai Photonics Technology Co., Ltd was founded in 2013 in San Jose, the heart of Silicon Valley, and was relocated to Shanghai in 2014. The company has nearly 200 employees (including over 30 PhDs), gathering together top experts from industries such as optics, precision machinery, electronics, communications, and artificial intelligence. Many employees are graduates from leading universities such as Stanford, MIT, Harvard and Tsinghua, and have previously worked at world-class companies such as Apple, Zeiss, BMW, Delphi, and Continental. Hesai owns one R&D center and two manufacturing centers and has offices in both Shanghai and Silicon Valley.
Since the end of 2016, Hesai has launched three LiDAR products for autonomous driving vehicles.
Pandar40 is a mechanical LiDAR with a 200-meter range and centimeter-level accuracy. Since mass production began over one year ago, Pandar40 has won overseas customers in Silicon Valley, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Germany, and France. In China, the Pandar series is also widely used by top self-driving car companies and university research groups.
Pandora is an all-in-one sensing kit integrating one LiDAR with five camera modules. It solves the time-consuming and labor-intensive challenges of multi-sensor calibration and synchronization for self-driving car companies. Moreover, Pandora is the only sensing kit in Baidu's Apollo platform and is fully supported by Apollo's custom-made Pandora SDK. This plug-and-play kit is in bulk shipments now.
PandarGT is a solid-state LiDAR using Hesai's proprietary ZOLO (Zoomable Light Oscillator) technology. While the ranging performance and angular resolution are greatly improved, piece cost can be as low as several hundred dollars once mass production begins. The ingenious design of PandarGT will adhere to the stringent automotive grade requirements regarding vibration and temperature.
Hesai has completed three rounds of financing totaling over 60 million USD. Lighthouse Capital Management led the angel investment round. Pagoda Investment was the series A lead investor. Lightspeed China Partners, Baidu, and ZhenFund led the series B round, which Jiangmen Venture Capital and Grains Valley Venture Capital – Hesai's longtime shareholders – also joined.
About Lightspeed China Partners
Lightspeed China Partners is a venture capital firm focusing on early-stage investments in mobile Internet, Internet Plus and enterprise technologies in China. Lightspeed China Partners manages nearly $1 billion through three USD funds and one RMB fund.
Lightspeed Venture Partners is a world-leading venture capital firm specializing in early-stage VC funding in the United States, India, and Israel. Over the past 20 years, Lightspeed Venture Partners has invested in over 200 tech companies worldwide, many of which have achieved industry-leading positions.
Lightspeed Venture Partners' founding partner James Mi is responsible for this round of investment in Hesai. Mr. Mi ranked 59th on the Midas List in 2018 – Forbes' top 100 venture capitalists from around the world. His early investments include Baidu, Dianping.com, Rong360, Zhongji Xuchuang, Lianluo Hudong, Ganji.com, Xunlei, and Pinduoduo, all of which have grown into unicorn companies.