industry in 2020.

Among total financing amount of RMB 26.77 billion, the cleaning robot sector dominated by sweeping robots accounted for about 13%. The industry has remained booming in 2021 and witnessed higher single investment. Previous reports said that the Chinese sweeping robot industry had over 10 financing events in 2021,and the biggest fund raising was from the intelligent cleaning home appliance brand called Dreame, which earned RMB 3.6 billion in C-round financing.

However, popularity of sweeping robot is not a result of chance. An insider told 36Kr that this is a RMB one-hundred-billion market. According to the predication by Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS), the market scale of sweeping robots across the globe and in China will hit USB 13 billion and USB 5 billion respectively in 2025. The market penetration rate of sweeping robots in urban households in China was less than 8%, according to Special Report on Machinery Industry - Sweeping Robot Industry by CITIC Securities,indicating that the market space remains to be explored.

Most investors in the primary market compared sweeping robots with washing machines. A bit of endgame investing logic goes like this: when sweeping robot can really replace human labor, it will become a family necessity like washing machine. In addition, current young consumers’ demand for convenience also meets

this trend - a logic behind inflow of hot money.

ZBeetle Intelligence was born in this thriving market. In January 2021, Quan Zheng, who once worked in Microsoft and Aqara created this home intelligent service robot company. From the original intention of entrepreneurship, the

goal is to build an intelligent household service robot matrix and let robots truly enter thousands of households. Sweeping robot is the starting point closet to customer-end application scenes. Lingfei Zhou, INCE Capital founding

partner, one of ZBeetle Intelligence investors said to 36Kr: “From its name

ZBeetle Intelligence rather than ZBeetle Robot, we can see that the company’s goal is not only to research and develop household cleaning robots, but to address user pain points through innovative breakthroughs in

sweeping robot, enter the big sector of intelligent household service robot,and build an intelligent life. ”

By selecting sweeping

robot as its start point, ZBeetle Intelligence has skipped the early trial-and-error stages of technology development. An obvious manifestation is that more consumers tend to buy a sweeping robot at a higher price: According

to ALL VIEW CLOUD (AVC) data, the total online sales amount of sweeping robots from January to July 2021 was RMB 5.262 billion, compared with RMB 3.728 billion in the same period of last year. Public data also showed that, the expected price among consumers also increased. The average price of products hit RMB 1,914 in Q1 of this year, up by RMB 384 compared with the same period last year.

The consumer judgment for sweeping robots has changed from curiosity by regarding it as a “big toy” to pursuit of practical usage. This originates from ever-improving technology of sweeping robots. Household robot needs to “learn” what consumers require to serve them, and the nature lies in technical accumulation.

Opportunities often arise from variables, and sweeping robot variables are segmented in details. Before then, the market had two small spikes thanks to technical breakthroughs. The first is Stone Technologies that earned consumers and capital markets votes with self-developed laser navigation technology, and the other is NARWAL who fought its way out with “integrated cleaning and mopping” with a 15-fold rise of valuation last year.

“We need to improve penetration rate from two dimensions. First, for cleaning products, cleanness is one of the most important factors for consumers to consider purchasing. The second is convenience, namely, whether the product can truly free up our hands”, ZBeetle Intelligence founder Quan Zheng told 36Kr.


This is not just

Zheng’s opinion. How to be more convenient and cleaner is the research and development direction of almost all sweeping robot products. The difference lies in which technical path goes faster. One of ZBeetle Intelligence investors and Maison Capital partner Wei Wu told 36Kr that: “Sweeping robot is a sector with intense competition. However, once breakthrough can be made on a pain point, it means a great opportunity. Yet, ZBeetle Intelligence is a team capable of doing so. ”

Focusing on Chinese market, the more accurate pain point for cleanness is “how  to mop” rather than “how to sweep”. Among Chinese families, 56% of floors are made of ceramic tile, 43% are wood floors, and only 1% are carpet. By comparison, floor carpets (including small ones) account for about 50% in American families, according to public data.

Therefore, in the early stage of industry development, sweeping robot was designed for cleaning carpet floor. Therefore, early sweeping robots were often deemed as “useless” among Chinese families. In reality, “mopping” can cover a  larger area of floor than “sweeping”. For instance, mopping is needed in many areas of Asia as well as for the first floor in some European and American houses”, commented by Lingfei Zhou, INCE Capital founding partner.

As we learned, the first product of ZBeetle Intelligence, XWOW robot is a new species in smart home cleaning. Innovative breakthroughs have been made in body  structure, core algorithm, mop structure, and so on. On the basis of sweeper,  this product integrates and improves mopping performance of handheld floor scrubber, delivering extreme cleaning experience and core competitiveness against other products.

However, it is not an easy task to address the mopping pain point because this means integration of floor scrubber functions in a sweeping robot and reduces human operation. Robust cleaning power of a floor scrubber is realized by increasing force, posing huge challenges to product structure, space utilization, and so on. “To practically

address pain points and offer optimal cleaning solutions to users, we spared great efforts in research and development by making 7 prototypes for the entire machine, while most manufacturers across the sweeping robot industry only make 4 prototypes”, ZBeetle Intelligence founder Quan Zheng told 36Kr.

Therefore, there is threshold to make a sweeping robot which seems not so cool but can truly enter thousands of households. “A breakthrough product does not merely mean technical accumulation, but true technical innovation from pursuits of supply chain, underlying technology, and channel selection”, Maison Capital partner told 36Kr.

It cannot be denied that there is a long way to go for sweeping robots to have the same penetration rate as that of washing machines. Currently, some consumers are shut out by high product prices and large product sizes. However,with technical breakthrough and higher popularity, sweeping robots have been stood at the frontier of scale production. “Smart house is a typical industry driven by technology and product. What is important is to find wet snow and a really long hill. In recent years, the sweeping robot industry has witnessed a commercial boom through supply side innovation, and the sweeping robot is bound to be a necessity in millions of household users. ZBeetle Intelligence is the best enterprise that processes innovative technology and actual products after our long-term observation for the sector. ”, Cathay Capital partner Lijun Ding told 36Kr.

Zoo Capital investor Huanhuan Wang also stated that, a team’s talent and diligence is reflected by its deep study on every machine component. ZBeetle Intelligence adheres to the first principle in each component and algorithm and defines design with quantitative criteria from independent thinking. With rich experience in supply chain, it finally rolled out this product with generational difference in cleanliness and convenience.

Regarding the founding team, ZBeetle Intelligence said that, CEO Quan Zheng has 16 years of experience in internet & smart hardware products. He once worked in IBM & Microsoft Asia Pacific Hardware R&D Center, and then Vice-President & General Manager of Door Lock Center in Aqara. He once created a Top 1 popular intelligent door lock from scratch and this single SKU’s shipment has hit 1 million sets.

CTO Zhiyuan Zhong has 18 years of research and development experience in smart hardware products. He once worked in Schneider Electric & Microsoft Asia Pacific Hardware R&D Center. Before that, he also served as R&D Chief Director and Chief Engineer in Aqara. He was also the developer of HomeKit - ZigBee, the first smart home gateway system in China.

COO Ming Liang has engaged in group enterprise strategic management and capital market for 20 years. He was in charge of Apple global supply chain, and created the Apple supply chain asset Internet of Things system from scratch.

CMO Yong Shen worked as the Sales & Operation Director of Xiaomi Smart Home Appliances, and was responsible for a sales market with annual sales amount of more than RMB ten billion.