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Novena Global Lifecare completes US$350 million merger with China’s Xingkeduo to expand the NOVU and Xingkeduo brands in China and beyond

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Novena Global Lifecare (the “Company”), one of the world’s largest integrated medical healthcare and aesthetic companies with over 100 clinics in 20 cities mainly in the Asia Pacific region, has completed its US$350 million (S$476 million[1]) merger with Xingkeduoan express haircut business with nearly 100 stores in high foot-traffic prime locations in China’s first- and second-tier cities and a China-wide e-commerce platform.

The merger provides Singapore-owned Novena Global Lifecare with access to Xingkeduo’s internet technology and physical network of nearly 100 stores, which will now be complemented by the Company’s medical aesthetic expertise through its NOVU Aesthetics (NOVU) brand. This merger will also see an accelerated expansion of NOVU and Xingkeduo brands in China, as plans are underway for the creation of a one-of-a-kind hybrid store format offering complementary medtech-based aesthetic and hairdressing solutions driven by Artificial Intelligence (AI), as well as generate cross-selling opportunities for both brands.

The new company‘s English name will remain as “Novena Global Lifecare”. Evolve Capital Asia and InsightX Capitalare the financial advisers for Novena Global Lifecare and Xingkeduo, respectively, for this merger funded by cash and shares in Novena Global Lifecare. In addition, the merged entity will manage the expansion of the NOVU and Xingkeduo brands in China and in the Asia Pacific region.

Following the merger, DORR Group and Novena Global Lifecare’s Executive Chairman and co-founder Nelson Loh will serve as Novena Global Lifecare’schairman, while DORR Group and Novena Global Lifecare’s CEO and co-founder Terence Loh and Xingkeduo’s founder Willy Chuangwill be appointed co-CEOs of Novena Global Lifecare.

AI-based Beauty OS platform to drive growth

Founded in Beijing in 2015, Xingkeduo is the first company in China that combines hairdressing with online-to-offline commerce using Internet technology for online order, queue reservations in the cloud, with the actual hairdressing services provided in the shop. To date, Xingkeduo has served more than 3 million customers, with over 6 million sales made online, and maintained a 99.54% positive rating online.

Xingkeduo’s founder Willy Chuang said: “China has the most developed and active e-commerce retail system in the world. With our proprietary AI-based Beauty OS system, Xingkeduo has been able to evolve and scale up from a hair salon offering express haircuts to one offering its own brand of professional scalp care and hair styling products to target customers’ needs, not only in stores but also on e-commerce platforms. With Novena Global Lifecare’s participation, we are confident that we can grow our combined business exponentially in China and beyond.”

Mr Chuang added: “We analysed the prospects of the service industries and the healthcare sector, and we believe that the future unicorns will be multi-brand matrices, and the customer experience will not be limited to the store, but consist of a seamless online-to-offline experience, covering a full range of on-demand products and services, including customised aesthetic and medical solutions.”

As part of the business integration, Xingkeduo plans to implement version 3.0 of its growth plans and expand into the provision of medical care services, such as scalp management and hair transplants. This builds on Xingkeduo’s successful transformation from version 1.0 (purely haircut services) into the current version 2.0, through the integration of offline and online services in a short span of just three years.

Growing footprint in China

Novena Global Lifecare is one of the successful portfolio companies in DORR Group, which is a privately held investment holding company managing over US$4 billion of assets across various industries from consumer, healthcare, technology and media. The DORR Group is also in the process of setting up a new US$150 million Sino-Singapore Healthcare Fund for the tri-party of Novena Global Lifecare, Sinopharm Capital and Cedarlake Capital to invest in a portfolio of companies involved in Southeast Asia’s medical services, biomedical projects, mature drugs and precision medicine sectors.

DORR Group’s Nelson Loh said: “Through this merger, Novena Global Lifecarewill immediately reinforce our leading presence in the aesthetics beauty and wellness industry in Asia Pacific. More significantly, it would further improve our retail and service quality, and disrupt the current industry model and cost structure. We strongly believe that in the future, whether in SingaporeChina, or even in Asia and Latin America, we can use this model to empower customers to have more customised products and services.”

“As an investor in the medical industry, and with our experience in operating a global chain of aesthetic healthcare stores, both data and intuitive experience tell me that this industry is a field where consumers need more affordable and convenient services, and has very broad growth prospects. With the experience of Xingkeduo in China’s beauty market, the resources of the company’s shareholders and the Beauty OS system built for the company’s business, we are confident that we will continue to be a trailblazer in China’s medical beauty and medical care markets, bringing more choices for Chinese consumers,” Mr Nelson Loh added.

Moving forward, Novena Global Lifecarewill continue to provide consumers with convenient, efficient and cost-effective products and services, based on both parties’ common vision and consistent development goals for the lifecare and medical industries.

The Company will also accelerate the development of both brands, NOVU and Xingkeduo, and launch the development of multi-stores in China and Asia Pacific, as well as introduce NOVU’s skincare technology to consumers in China and leverage on the Beauty OS system to accelerate the service upgrade of NOVU stores around the world.

DORR Group’s co-founder Terence Loh said, “Asia has become the capital of the world’s beauty industry, with China and Southeast Asia recording the fastest development and the most promising market for Asian beauty and medical care. China is a huge market and we believe we are well positioned to seize opportunities especially in its highly fragmented aesthetic healthcare market. There’s definitely room for a well-run, well-funded integrated practice that provides affordable and accessible healthcare and medical aesthetics services to the mass market.”

 

SOURCE Novena Global Lifecare

Artificial Intelligence

Siri Co-Founder Tom Gruber Joins Sherpa.ai as Strategic Advisor

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Sherpa.ai, one of the leading companies in predictive Digital Assistants and Artificial Intelligence, has announced today that Tom Gruber, co-founder and CTO of Siri, is joining the company as Strategic Advisor. Gruber will work with the Sherpa.ai team as they develop new AI-based features. As part of the agreement, Sherpa.ai is the only Digital Assistant company that he is advising.

Gruber’s incorporation implies a significant milestone for the Basque company, as he is considered to be one of the top experts in Artificial Intelligence and digital assistants, worldwide.

“The arrival of Tom Gruber to our company makes it clear that we are at the global forefront, in terms of Artificial Intelligence and digital assistants,” said Xabi Uribe-Etxebarria, founder and CEO of Sherpa.ai. “Sherpa’s mission is to augment and accelerate human potential through the application of personal AI and Tom’s experience and outlook are perfectly aligned with that mission.”

“I visited the company headquarters in Bilbao and I was impressed with their Artificial Intelligence technology. Among the Digital Assistant companies that I have seen, I am most excited by the Sherpa.ai product and team, that’s why I decided to join them,” added Tom Gruber.

Tom Gruber is a researcher, designer, and entrepreneur, with a focus on technology to augment human intelligence and well being. He was the co-founder and CTO of the team that created Siri, which was acquired by Apple in 2010. At Apple for over 8 years, Tom led the Advanced Development Group that designed and prototyped new capabilities for Siri and related products that bring intelligence to the interface.

Throughout his career, Gruber has applied Artificial Intelligence technology to support individual and collective human knowledge. He founded companies to support human collaboration and knowledge sharing, and his research at Stanford University laid the groundwork for the exchange of semantic information sharing and the Semantic Web.

Gruber will advise Sherpa.ai in the development the next of generation of digital assistant features, such as predictive and proactive personalization.

Sherpa.ai offers a white-label digital assistant, in relationships with major automobile manufacturers and telcos. It recently closed a $15 million round of financing to accelerate its growth.

Recently, Sherpa.ai launched important new products, like the Sherpa.ai Conversational OS platform, which allows the digital assistant technology to be integrated into any device, and the Sherpa.ai Predictive and Recommending Engine,through which companies can equip any product with predictive technology.

Additionally, in April, the company presented Sherpa News, a free news application based on Artificial Intelligence, available for Android and iOS, which completes the catalog of mobile applications, alongside Sherpa Assistant, the digital assistant that has been downloaded millions of times since its launch.

 

SOURCE Sherpa.ai

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Artificial Intelligence

Xpeng G3 achieves highest score among EVs in China’s latest C-NCAP safety test

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The Xpeng G3 2019 version obtained the highest total score of 92.2% among electric vehicles in the latest China New Car Assessment Program (C-NCAP) safety test, according to official results announced on 13 July.

The G3 smart EV SUV achieved a 5-star standard safety rating, and was among the first batch of new energy vehicles received 5-star rating by C-NCAP after it released new rules in line with international standards. C-NCAP released the new version of its regulations in 2018, adding safety evaluation standards for pure electric vehicles, and performance evaluations for active safety functions.

According to the official C-NCAP results, the G3 received 96.50% in passenger safety and 94.09% in active safety, both the highest rankings among electric vehicles in this latest safety evaluation by the Chinese authority.

In C-NCAP’s most stringent 64-kilometer offset collision, the G3 received the highest score of 19.758 among all types of vehicles. In addition, the G3’s active safety system has gone through over 3,000 hours of data acquisition. The road test for its automatic emergency braking function recorded zero malfunctions in every 150,000 km.

“The C-NCAP results are a strong endorsement of Xpeng’s in-house R&D, safety design and quality control capability,” said Xpeng Motors Chairman & CEO He Xiaopeng. “The new C-NCAP regulations are the most stringent yet for EVs, but the G3 has matched or exceeded these standards, rating it the safest electric vehicle in the China market.”

The G3’s comprehensive active and passive safety features are supported by its strong body architecture, with 70% of the vehicle body made of high-strength steel (including 6.7% ultra-high strength steel and 1500MPa 7.5% thermoformed steel), creating a rigid safety cage to withstand collisions from different directions. This architecture can quickly disperse collision forces through various nodes, effectively reducing locally concentrated force to help prevent the vehicle body crumpling in a collision.

During the R&D phase, Xpeng conducted five rounds of safety tests on the G3, including 63 vehicle collisions and 40 sliding tests to cover a full range of collision scenarios. The G3 also went through more than 1,000 structural optimization simulations in the R&D phase, taking more than 30,000 hours. Additionally, the G3 has the following active safety systems:

  • Forward collision warning (FCW)
  • Automatic emergency brake (AEB) with pedestrian protection
  • Lane departure warning (LDW)
  • Intelligent speed limit assist (SLA)
  • Blind spot detection (BSD)
  • Lane change alert (LCA)
  • Rear cross traffic alert (RCTA)
  • MSB electric seatbelt (with collision warning)

 

SOURCE XPENG Motors

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Artificial Intelligence

TVS Motor Singapore to Invest US$7 Million in Scienaptic Systems, an AI Powered Decision Platform

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TVS Motor (Singapore) Pte. Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of TVS Motor Company Limited, India, has signed definitive agreements to invest US$7 million in Scienaptic Systems Inc., a Delaware corporation, headquartered in New York City. TVS Motor (Singapore) Pte. Limited led this Series A funding in Scienaptic. The closing of the investment is subject to obtaining appropriate regulatory approvals.

Scienaptic has combined latest big data technologies and proprietary machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms on its decision platform, “Ether.” Solutions built on Ether enable enterprises to improve risk and credit assessment, monitor evolving fraud patterns, and improve customer journeys and experience. Scienaptic counts several marquee Fortune 100 enterprises as its clients.

Rajesh Narasimhan, Board Member of TVS Motor Company and CEO of TVS Motor (Singapore), stated that, “We evaluated many companies providing big data analytics and risk management solutions and found Scienaptic’s product offerings and solutions with their ability to help organizations leverage actionable insights through the power of a strong analytics platform to be a clear differentiator and a unique proposition. Scienaptic’s end-to-end data analytics solution, with applicability to customers in various industries, has the potential to generate a new profit stream for our group. We are happy to invest in, and strategically partner with, Scienaptic as they continue to pursue bottom-line impact for Fortune 100 companies, and to leverage Scienaptic for our businesses. Our current investment in Scienaptic is part of the initial set of investments being made in strategically relevant digital startups.”

Pankaj Kulshreshtha, Founder & CEO of Scienaptic added, “We are witnessing the adoption of our AI platform at Fortune 100 companies. With the cutting edge instruments on our platform, companies are able to drive adoption of AI in their processes. The investment by TVS enables us to accelerate our sales and product development. We found a significant match in value systems between the two organizations and believe that our collective strengths will enable Scienaptic to grow exponentially and become a global leader in AI-powered decisioning space.”

 

SOURCE TVS Motor

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