After the first external capital increase last year alphabet (NASDAQ: Goog; NASDAQ: GoogL) Autonomous Vehicle (AV) Division Waymo has just closed its second round of funding from outside investors. The company has raised an additional $ 2.5 billion from a handful of institutional investors to fund self-driving car development.
Here’s What Alphabet Investors Need to Know.
Waymo brings in billions
Of course, Alphabet itself participated in the investment round as Waymo’s parent company, but other investors include venture capital company Andreessen Horowitz, an automobile dealer AutoNation (NYSE: AN), Fidelity Investments, Perry Creek Capital, Silver Lake, T. Rowe Prize (NASDAQ: TRAW), Temasek Holdings, and Tiger Global Management. Some of these investors had participated in the previous round in 2020, which increased to $ 3 billion.
Waymo plans to use the money to further develop Waymo Driver, its flagship autonomous driving technology, and to hire additional talent. Waymo Driver has already collected tens of millions of kilometers of autonomous driving on public roads and has also simulated tens of billions of kilometers.
The company has started deploying Waymo Via, its offering supporting large Class 8 semi-trailers for freight companies like JB Hunt. This service already delivers for customers like UPS (NYSE: UPS) and AutoNation.
The news comes just a few months after John Krafcik stepped down as CEO of Waymo and handed the reins to co-CEOs Tekedra Mawakana and Dmitri Dolgov. Krafcik has been criticized for hyping autonomous driving and setting unrealistic expectations during his time as Waymo CEO.
“As we develop, deploy, and market the Waymo Driver, it is gratifying to see so much interest in being part of our journey to transform mobility to make it safer, more accessible, and more sustainable along the way,” write Mawakana and Dolgov in a blog post. “We will use this latest investment round to further develop the Waymo Driver and further expand our team.”
The company also lost senior finance manager, Sherry House, last month. House was poached by Lucid Motors to become CFO of the electric vehicle startup prior to merging with the special purpose vehicle (SPAC). Churchill capital IV (NYSE: CCIV). Previously, she was instrumental in leading funding initiatives for Waymo.
It’s unclear what rating Waymo got in the last round of funding, as is the breakdown of how much each investor contributed. The Financial Times reported last year that the 2020 investment round ran at a valuation of $ 30 billion, and it is possible that Waymo could have scored an even higher valuation. EV and AV companies, such as Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) have seen valuations spike over the past year as investors priced in high growth expectations.
Still, autonomous driving remains elusive as the technology is incredibly difficult to develop while federal regulators continue to keep a close eye on the sector.
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