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Nuro Raises $940M From SoftBank Vision Fund For Robot Delivery

SoftBank needs to keep finding startups to park its money, and it looks like autonomous delivery startup Nuro is the latest spot.

Mountain View-based Nuro announced this morning that it has raised $940 million in financing from the SoftBank Vision Fund. The funding comes just more than a year after it raised $92 million in a Series A from Silicon Valley-based Greylock Partners and China’s Gaorong Capital.

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The three-year-old developer of robot delivery vans, which was founded by Dave Ferguson and Jiajun Zhu –  former employees of Google’s Waymo division, says its mission is to make “local delivery fast and affordable” with its self-driving service.

In a press release, Nuro said it will use the new financing “to expand its delivery service to new geographies, add new partners, scale its fleet, extend and mature its general self-driving technology, and significantly grow its team.”

Nuro currently has 300 employees, 100 of which are contracted, according to a company spokesperson.

2018 was a big year for the company: it unveiled its custom unmanned vehicle, inked a national partnership with Kroger to do grocery delivery, licensed its self-driving technology to autonomous trucking company Ike, and launched what it says was the first-ever driverless delivery service available to the general public in Arizona. Nuro now has fleets in California, Texas and Arizona.

“Nuro’s world-class team has successfully scaled their self-driving technology out of the lab and into the streets,” said Michael Ronen, managing partner of SoftBank Investment Advisers, in the press release. “In just two years Dave, Jiajun and team have developed Nuro from a concept into a real business using robotics to connect retailers to customers.”

Last November, Crunchbase data unearthed at least eight companies in the robot delivery space with headquarters or operations in North America that have secured seed or early-stage funding in the past couple of years. With this financing, Nuro appears to still be the most heavily funded of startups in this space.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

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