Morning Report: TuSimple, an autonomous trucking startup, has raised a $55 million series C. The deal represents broader interest in Chinese-based auto startups.
On the heels of Tesla’s semi announcement, Chinese startup TuSimple has announced its $55 million series C. The company intends to use the latest amount of funding to improve its self-driving functions and further its road testing capabilities.
According to Crunchbase, the startup had already raised a $20 million series B a touch over three months ago. Its investors include Nvidia, a US-based semiconductor company known for its successful dive into AI.
But while TuSimple’s latest round is notable given its timing and quick investment turnaround, it’s not the only Chinese startup operating in the automative space to receive large chunks of funding.
In fact, the pace of investment into these Chinese-based automotive startups has continued to grow over the years, as the chart below shows:
As we can see, known deal amounts into China-based automotive startups remained relatively light for a few years. But since 2015, the known deal amounts and number of rounds has been steadily increasing. So what could account for the jump? There are myriad reasons.
The country suffers from heavy traffic problems (which autonomy could potentially help alleviate), contributing to severe pollution issues. There is also a state-sponsored will to increase the production of electric and autonomous vehicles. The state also plans to be a leader in artificial intelligence, an essential component to developing successful self-driving technology.
But to actually get there, China is likely going to need continued investing in locally-based automotive startups. And based on the chart above, the state and its investors are willing to pour in the cash to make it happen—making it likely we’ll see even more Chinese startup deals in the near future and throughout 2018.
From the Crunchbase Daily:
Here’s how VCs rank as trendspotters
- Venture investors are known for being early to get on board with a new technology trend. But they also begin sliding off the trend sooner than the general population, according to a Crunchbase News analysis that looked at four recent technical crazes: drones, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and blockchain.
FCC plans net neutrality repeal
- The Federal Communications Commission released a plan to dismantle net neutrality regulations that prohibit internet service providers from blocking sites or charging companies for speedier content delivery. The proposal is seen as a victory for big service providers like Comcast and AT&T but was widely opposed by content providers and the internet startup community.
Uber concealed massive hack
- Hackers stole personal data of 57 million Uber customers and drivers in 2016, including email addresses, phone numbers and some 600,000 driver’s license numbers. This week, the company ousted its chief security officer for his role in concealing the data breach, which included a $100,000 payment to the attackers.
Divergent 3D raises up to $107M
- Divergent 3D, a Los Angeles-based developer of technology to incorporate 3D metal printing into vehicle design and manufacturing, is raising up to $107 million in a Series B financing led by Hong Kong’s O Luxe Holdings and joined by Horizons Ventures, Shanghai Alliance Investment Limited and Altran Technologies.