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Amazon To Acquire Self-driving Car Startup Zoox

Amazon confirmed Friday it will acquire Zoox, a 6-year-old self-driving car startup that has raised $955 million in venture-backed funding, and is building advanced mobility experiences aimed at supporting future needs of urban mobility.

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Although Amazon didn’t disclose a purchase amount in its blog post, The Information reported yesterday that the deal was valued at more than $1 billion.

Zoox executives Aicha Evans, CEO, and Jesse Levinson, co-founder and CTO, will continue to lead the team, Amazon said in its blog post.

“This acquisition solidifies Zoox’s impact on the autonomous driving industry,” Evans said in a written statement. “We have made great strides with our purpose-built approach to safe, autonomous mobility, and our exceptionally talented team is working every day to realize that vision. We now have an even greater opportunity to realize a fully autonomous future.”

Zoox’s strategy is to build zero-emission vehicles designed for autonomous ride-hailing from the ground up, along with an end-to-end autonomy software stack, aimed at providing flexibility and fast iteration. The company is based in Foster City, California.

We last covered a Zoox capital raise in 2018, when the company raised $465 million in a Series B round led by Grok Ventures. At the time, TechCrunch reported that Zoox was estimated to be valued at $2.7 billion before that cash infusion. However, The Wall Street Journal report on a potential acquisition, last month, put that value at around $3.2 billion.

Despite its success with raising funds, the company was not immune to the economic climate affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, confirming in April that it would lay off 120 employees.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

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