JD Capital Makes VC Investment in the Second Half of Internet Investment to Initiate Business in Int
Source: YBC Library
Two decades ago, Bill Gates’s insights of “Internet” decided the future of Microsoft, and propelled the Internet to trigger a massive transformation beyond imagination across the world.
Now, companies like Microsoft and Google have already expressed their determination to incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) into their core business and growth plan. Although there is still no telling how intelligent technology will influence the business world and individual lives, innovation in this field featuring ubiquitous intelligent hardware (VR, AR, UAV, etc.) and information technologies (AI, CV, Big Data, etc.) has become the major engine for the integration between new technologies and traditional industries.
The capital market also shows a new trend. In the past, the market focused too much on business model innovation, expanded business scale in an extravagant way, and raised capital with overstated valuation to compensate for the deficit. However, the market bubbles entailed by these malpractices have gradually died out since 2016, and the market begins to ponder over its commercial essence. This transition has brought along new direction and focus for the second half of investment in the Internet.
“For one, a company’s capability of generating profits will become a key index in project selection, and the business model innovation will put more stress on rigid demands. For another, the market increasingly encourages technology innovation, which is also the fundamental economic propeller of China currently,” pointed out the VC team of JD Capital. As the production of the traditional industries is going intelligentized, JD Capital, a famous domestic PE firm, combines PE and VC investment in a well-balanced manner, participates in the second half of the Internet VC investment at a proper time, and proactively embarks on a new journey of the intelligent technology market.
Ubiquitous intelligent hardware: locate technological gaps and prevail in intelligent technology market
As the VC team of JD Capital sees it, black technology innovation in the field of ubiquitous hardware is still difficult in China, considering the actual domestic condition.
“In addition to the inadequate reserve of talents, a much more important difficulty is that the domestic capital market does not have the patience to wait for the outcomes of a market layout a decade, or even several decades later. Therefore, we believe that it is a more reasonable way to seek for technology gaps and become a leader in the market segment. This also constitutes the strategy basis for our participation in the intelligent technology market during the second half of Internet investment,” said the VC team of JD Capital.
Taking consumer electronics, one of the applications of ubiquitous intelligent hardware, as an example, the VC team pointed out that the hardware performance of this industry is getting stronger and, thus can meet most of the daily demands now. In the future, an ecosystem where mobile phones serve as the processing core will gradually take its shape. “Up till now, all kinds of electronic products still have an independent processing center, which is a waste of hardware resources to some extent. Therefore, it is our prediction that mobile phones are expected to serve as the processing cores, while other devices the peripheral components in the future.” But before that, barriers related to power and data must be solved effectively.
In terms of power, consumer electronics mainly use lithium batteries. However, the batteries have been constrained by the problem of capacity density for years. A safe, stable, and sustainable power supply, therefore, becomes the precondition for smart phones to become a processing core. The VC team believes, “Through innovating new energies, developing power storage method with a higher density, or devising a faster and more convenient charging method on the basis of lithium batteries, massive investment opportunities will be generated.”
As for data, the data exchange between smart phones as processing cores and peripheral devices also implies a large number of opportunities. “The changes in Apple products this year indicate that iPhones will have increasingly better performance and fewer jacks. Besides, wireless charging and data transmission will become standard configuration,” said the VC team. Among all projects the VC team of JD Capital has learned about, a large amount of domestic and overseas teams is developing wireless technological products, the user experience of which, however, is still to be improved. “According to the current technology development, solutions with higher data transmission efficiency, portability, and compatibility should be industrialized as soon as possible.”
Throughout the history of consumer electronics, human-computer interaction has evolved from the one-dimension stage to the two-dimension one.
That is, the original button pressing only involves single-dimensional interaction. However, with the development and popularization of touch screens, the interaction has become two-dimensional, with touching and sliding enhancing the interaction flexibility, and generating massive new contents. As the VR display technologies mature and popularize, the human-computer interaction method will evolve to be in three dimensions, thus enabling users to operate in the entire space.
Based on such a prediction, the VC team of JD Capital believes that, the over ten kinds of technologies in this field, such as optical motion capturing, inertial capturing, and computer vision, all have their pros and cons. In a short term, different application scenarios must be applied with different solutions. In a long term, however, besides the application on mobile phones and in VR, the widespread intelligentized products will bring the multi-dimensional interaction with even more scenarios.
Information technology: avail the opportunity of big data and get ahead of the next wave of Internet development
In times of intelligence innovation, big data is indisputably an inexhaustible gold mine.
From the rise of social platforms to the wide application of big data and cloud computing, from the development of mobile Internet to the popularization of “Internet +”, people are leaving more and more data on the Internet. Utilizing enormous data to reorganize the multi-dimensional information and fully open up various big data channels have become the direction of massive investment and investment layout of technology companies and investment organizations. Zmeng, a company JD Capital invests in, is an industrial big data service platform providing “precise marketing solutions”.
With the newly installed or transformed WiFi as off-line probes, Zmeng identifies proper mobile users and analyzes their consumption behaviors. And then, combining online consumer behavior data, Zmeng provides well-targeted multi-dimensional marketing solutions for enterprises or businesses to improve the profits of their traditional physical stores. By identifying corporate clients in different cities and over 400 agents in more than 300 cities, Zmeng now has won 70,000 paid corporate clients including HaiDiLao Hot Pot, Greenland, Wanda Cinemas, and Audi.
“Since its invention, the Internet has been generating a great deal of data every day. Especially after the mobile Internet became widespread, the data has boomed by several orders of magnitude. Presumably, it will continue to skyrocket at a stunning rate,” stated the VC team.
In addition to accurate marketing, big data is also mainly applied in such areas of financial risk control, operational decision optimization of Internet products, and so on. In the future, big data technologies, big data-based machine learning, and AI will allow infinite imagination for the next stage of Internet development, among which AI enjoys the greatest attention. Some people in the industry reckon that the strategy shift of Google from Mobile First to AI First this year has ushered in the times of AI. However, limited by current technologies, AI will remain in an early stage of development for a long time, and there is still a long way from the totally human-like AI in science fiction movies to come true.
“However, in the short term, we can still expect AI to be applied to meet standardized, professional, and exclusive demands, such as semantic recognition, aided driving, and meteorological forecasting,” so considered the VC team of JD Capital. As a result, VC investment should pay attention to, in addition to the algorithm and application R&D, the understanding of industry chain of the company. As far as the VC team of JD Capital is concerned, a team equipped with technology R&D capability and an industrial thinking pattern tends to be able to transform the outcomes of their R&D projects into products more rapidly.
“+ Internet”: VC power for an time-honored PE firm
Faced with the overwhelming integration between technologies and industries, technology innovation is always closely related with traditional industries. That is to say, we deal with old problems with new technologies. Most intelligent innovations are still in a phase equivalent to that the Internet was in 12 years ago, and are still unable to directly enhance the business value of many areas.
Compared with the buzzword “Internet +” in China last year, the VC team of JD Capital believes that “+ Internet” can describe the new direction in a more accurate way. “+ Internet” the phrase indicates that we should retreat Internet to a secondary position so as to embrace traditional industries to a higher extent and return to the essence of commerce.
“For a long period to come, science and technology innovation will absolutely become a more and more important propeller for social production development,” said the VC team.
“Most innovations are actually an enhancement of traditional industries; we improve efficiency, reduce cost, and expand production with new technologies. On the contrary, innovation in some specific areas can be seen as a replacement of traditional structures; we overthrow outdated models with new technologies. The former innovation will create enormous social value through promoting the development of traditional industries, which in return generates new demands constantly and thus stimulates the latter kind of innovation of fundamental technologies,” further explained the team.
In this process, automatic warehousing, inspection and plant protection by unmanned aerial vehicle, industrial automatic robot, and industrial Internet of Things (IIOT) will be the pioneers of production mode intelligentization in traditional industries.
“The productivity and the production mode of most traditional industries are relatively out of date. After the demographic dividend is exhausted, the conflict between the demand for business growth and the outdated production mode will show, bringing massive chances to many entrepreneurial teams.”
In the field of production logistics, for instance, JD Capital has made PE investment in a wide array of areas such as chain stores, e-commerce, and fresh food. Their similarity lies in the fact that their front-line businesses are well supported by a powerful warehouse management system. “The functional system of traditional warehousing stressing ‘storing’ can hardly meet the current demand for high-efficiency sorting or a combination of storing and sorting. Due to the high labor cost, cost reduction and efficiency enhancement becomes the core demands. Therefore, intelligent warehousing is an imperative,” so considered the VC team. The tendency brings opportunities to technological innovation and innovation teams engaging in software and hardware of all kinds.
As the automatic warehousing facilities begin to be applied widely, hardware such as large pipelines, mechanical arms, and small AGV are expected to substitute part of the manual work, as well as enhance efficiency and cut labor demand with mass production. As for the software, the Warehouse Management System, combined with previous order data, can carry out real-time and dynamic management on the stock keeping units (SKU) more intelligently, and distribute orders to picking units most effectively. As a result, the efficiency of the warehouse management is significantly improved.
“Intelligentization is penetrating many industries. As a vital engine for industry development, besides M&A investment for the stepping up of innovation in traditional industries, JD Capital will assist entrepreneurial teams to make “enhancement” innovation with VC investment, in an effort to generate mutual profits,” expressed the team.