Alphabet’s Autonomous Vehicle Bet Waymo Raises $2.25 Billion In First Outside Funding Round

Waymo announced today that it has closed its first round of external investment.

The autonomous driving company, previously incubated as an “other bets” project under the umbrella of Alphabet, says it has raised a staggering $2.25 billion in financing from investors including Silver Lake, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, and Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Company. Other firms including Andreessen Horowitz, global automotive supplier Magna International, pre-owned vehicle listing service AutoNation, and its corporate parent Alphabet also participated in Waymo’s round.

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“We’ve always approached our mission as a team sport, collaborating with our [original equipment manufacturer] and supplier partners, our operations partners and the communities we serve to build and deploy the world’s most experienced driver,” said John Krafcik, CEO of Waymo. “Today, we’re expanding that team, adding financial investors and important strategic partners who bring decades of experience investing in and supporting successful technology companies building transformative products. With this injection of capital and business acumen, alongside Alphabet, we’ll deepen our investment in our people, our technology and our operations, all in support of the deployment of the Waymo Driver around the world.”

Waymo did not say, precisely, what it will do with its newfound cash, but it did share a number of development and business milestones. The company says its autonomous Waymo Driver platform has driven “more than 20 million miles on public roads across over 25 cities, and over 10 billion miles in simulation.” Waymo added that the company has already shipped its first L4 autonomous vehicles (which include electric vehicles and Class 8 trucks, according to the company) with the company’s latest hardware and beefed onboard sensors and compute hardware.

The company also provided updates about Waymo One, its on-demand autonomous car service which currently operates in Arizona. The service has already provided thousands of trips to locals “in a high-speed mixed usage market area larger than San Francisco.”

The deal comes 10 months after rival self-driving car outfit Cruise raised roughly $1.15 billion at an approximate $18 billion post-money valuation. The SoftBank Vision Fund, T. Rowe Price, and automakers Honda and General Motors participated in the raise.

TechCrunch reported in March 2019 that the company was seeking outside investment at a lofty valuation. In September, Morgan Stanley cut the company’s valuation to $105 billion from $175 billion, based on its discounted cashflows.

No information about the company’s valuation or other terms of today’s financing have been disclosed at this time.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias.

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