China's AR company Rokid closes $160M Series C to expand globally

Chinese startup Rokid has been through a few stages of transformation over its eight years of existence, and it's recently raised some new funding to stay afloat. The Temasek-backed company started out as a smart speaker maker when the vertical was all the rage in China in mid-2015s, but it has in recent years put more focus on augmented reality.

This week, Rokid said it has secured a $160 million Series C round, lifting its total capital raised to $378 million. Between its last financial injection of $100 million in 2018 and this recent round, we haven't heard much from Rokid -- at least from the consumer side.

While new players like Qualcomm-backed Nreal have emerged to attract early adopters with stylish, lightweight glasses, Rokid appears to have kept itself busy by exploring enterprise use cases, like enabling remote communication for field workers in the auto, oil and gas, and other traditional industries. Its X-Craft headset, for instance, is resistant to explosions, water and dust and comes with 5G and GPS capabilities. And like many hardware startups that rushed to offer contactless solutions when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, Rokid touted smart glasses that could detect temperatures of up to 200 people within two minutes.

With a team of about 380 employees, Rokid said it will spend the new proceeds on research and development as well as global expansion, so developed markets could be expecting more of Rokid's B2B offerings. Indeed, the firm just hired an energy industry veteran to head its sales in the APAC region.

The company declined to name the investors from this round, only saying they are "related ecosystem players," which could very well mean clients and supply chain partners. It declined to reveal its post-money valuation.

The article has been updated to clarify that Rokid raised a total of $160 million from two tranches of Series C fundraising.