Royole, company behind world’s first foldable smartphone FlexPai, reportedly seeks $1 billion funding

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Published: March 15, 2019 5:20:13 PM

Royole, which unveiled the world’s first commercial foldable phone last year, competes with Samsung and BOE Technology Group to produce bendable screens using organic light-emitting diodes.

 

A Royole Corp. Flexpai smartphone sits on display during the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. Photographer: David Williams/Bloomberg

Royole Corp., a maker of flexible displays, is seeking about $1 billion in a funding round ahead of an initial public offering, people familiar with the matter said.

 

The Shenzhen, China-based company is seeking a valuation of at least $8 billion in the round as it seeks to expand its sales and marketing and research facilities, the people said, requesting not to be named because the matter is private. While the company is weighing an IPO, it hasn’t set a listing destination, the people said.

Royole, which unveiled the world’s first commercial foldable phone last year, competes with Samsung Electronics Co. and BOE Technology Group Co. to produce bendable screens using organic light-emitting diodes. After showing off its technology embedded in hats at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the company is working with Airbus to install displays in planes as it also works with clothing, furniture and kitchen supply customers.

The company, which was valued at about $5 billion in a previous funding round, has invested 11 billion yuan ($1.6 billion) building a flexible display plant in Shenzhen that went into production in June.

Connie Liu, a spokeswoman for Royole, declined to comment on the fundraising and potential IPO.

PRoyole was founded by Bill Liu, Peng Wei and Xiaojun Yu, who all studied at Stanford University. Its line of products also includes 3-D mobile theaters, “wearable” flex displays and a smart writing pad, which it sells on Amazon.com, JD.com and flagship stores in China, the U.S. and Europe.

Royole’s earlier investors include Knight Capital, IDG Capital, Poly Capital Management, AMTD Group, the funds of Chinese tycoon Xie Zhikun and the venture capital arm of the Shenzhen government.

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