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Google-backed smartwatch company Mobvoi reportedly seeking IPO (Updated)
Update, March 27, 2019 (01:49 PM ET): Mobvoi responded to our request for a comment on the story below. The representative said the company had no comment at this time but would inform us if Mobvoi decides it would like to release a statement.
Original article, March 27, 2019 (11:41 AM ET): According to a new report from Bloomberg, the Google-backed smartwatch and AI company Mobvoi is in the midst of fundraising ahead of a potential IPO in China. The company behind the popular line of TicWatch smartwatches reportedly hopes to raise $100 million for a $1 billion valuation.
Mobvoi is a Chinese company, one of only a handful with Google backing. Mobvoi’s line of TicWatch smartwatches all use Google’s Wear OS platform and utilize Google Assistant features.
In 2015, Mobvoi had a valuation of $300 million, during a fundraising round led by Google. Mobvoi itself was actually started by former Google employees.
If Mobvoi does file for an IPO with a $1 billion valuation, it would give the company some much-needed capital to help expand its brand throughout the world. That capital could also help Mobvoi better compete in the smartwatch and wearable market, which right now is mostly dominated by Apple with the Apple Watch. However, Apple’s market share is dropping due to competition from rivals like Fitbit, HUAWEI, and Samsung.
We reached out to Mobvoi for comment on this news but didn’t hear back before press time.
It’s extremely likely that Google will continue to back Mobvoi through thick and thin in order to keep Wear OS afloat, as fewer and fewer companies elect to include the beleaguered operating system on their wearables.
Mobvoi’s most recent flagship smartwatch, the TicWatch Pro, received a great review from Android Authority. Its cheaper entries are also highly-reviewed, although no TicWatch has launched yet with the newest Snapdragon Wear 3100 chipset.