Waymo Rounds Up Nearly $2.3 Billion
Waymo’s first foray into external funding has netted the autonomous vehicle development company $2.25 billion.
Waymo, which began as a Google project 11 years ago, has been funded internally until now by Alphabet, the parent of both companies. The company has been rumored for nearly a year to be looking for outside investors.
CEO John Krafcik says the new funds will be used to help deploy the fifth-generation Waymo Driver robotic system and the company’s Waymo Via self-driving package delivery service.
Three new partners led the funding round: the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, tech investor Silver Lake Partners and United Arab Emirates sovereign fund Mubadala Investment. Silver Lake co-CEO Egon Durban is expected to join Waymo’s operating board.
Also joining the round were Alphabet, previous partners AutoNation and Magna International, and venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.
Krafcik tells The Wall Street Journal that Waymo may eventually be spun off from Alphabet through its own initial public offering, although nothing is imminent.
Waymo says its driving system has covered 20 million miles on public roads and another 10 billion in simulation runs. The company also touts its pilot robotic ride-hailing service in Phoenix as a world-first.
The company is well ahead of its rivals and has earned bragging rights. This week’s funding round announcement marks an important baby step toward Waymo’s independence and the eventual emergence of a sustainable business plan.
Mazda, the Little Car Company That Can, has been working on a number of important fronts of late.
While at the Tokyo Motor Show this week various vehicle manufacturers were showing off all manner of cars and crossovers and transportation devices that typically had to do with something autonomous, connected and/or electrified (ACE, as CAR’s Brett Smith categorizes this burgeoning field), the guys from Chevy were in El Segundo, California, showing off a different take on what can best be described as “toys for boys”—boys who do or don’t have driver’s licenses.
The Buick LaCrosse has been Buick’s top-line car since it was introduced in 2004 as a 2005 model sedan.