Home / Tech News / China’s Pony.ai nabs $102M at nearly $1B valuation to take its self driving platform up another gear

China’s Pony.ai nabs $102M at nearly $1B valuation to take its self driving platform up another gear

Autonomous cars are fast-approaching, and so are those building the platforms that will help operate them. Today, Pony.ai   — the startup whose autonomous driving platform powers the first fully self-driving fleet in China — announced that it has raised $102 million in funding — a follow-on round that comes about seven months after its previous $112 million Series A . The funding — co-led by China’s ClearVue Partners and Eight Roads (which is part of Fidelity International) — is catapulting Pony.ai into unicorn territory: the company said that it takes it to “close to” a $1 billion post-money valuation. Other new investors include Green Pine Capital Partners, China Merchants Capital, Redpoint Ventures China, Adrian Cheng (Founder of K11), and Delong Capital, and previous investors Sequoia Capital China, Morningside Ventures, DCM Ventures, and Hongtai Capital also participated. The funding will be used to expand its business with more partnerships, hiring, and perhaps most importantly to continue expanding its testing and training in multiple locations. “I truly believe the next major challenge for autonomous cars will be small and medium scale deployment—this is an absolutely critical step to validating the system’s overall stability and reliability. We are grateful for the new and continued support in helping us to achieve this future,” said Pony.ai CEO James Peng in a statement. The funding news signifies a few things. First, we are continuing to see a huge amount of interest from investors to capitalise on the development and trajectory of self-driving services: despite some of the tragic setbacks we’ve seen, many have firmly planted autonomous technology into the category of “when”, not “if.” “Automotive is an essential component of large-ticket consumption,” said Partner of ClearVue Partners Kathleen Ying in a statement, “and autonomous vehicles will be a defining characteristic of future mobility. We at ClearVue have been seriously monitoring this space for some time and are very impressed with Pony.ai’s team and technology caliber. We look forward to leveraging our expertise in the consumer space and working closely with Pony.ai to further its mission.” Second, autonomous — along with transportation in general — remains an extremely capital-intensive space (partly because it is very complex, so engineers and designers not only need to tackle computing problems but hardware problems as well)

View article:
China’s Pony.ai nabs $102M at nearly $1B valuation to take its self driving platform up another gear

About Tech News Reporter

Check Also

Inside the rise and reign of supergiant venture capital rounds

There was a time not so long ago when nine-figure venture capital rounds weren’t a near-daily feature of tech business news. But now funding rounds of $100 million or more cross the wires with  stunning frequency . The  era of supergiant rounds  is now the new normal. This is attributable, in part, to billions of dollars flowing into new venture capital funds — the largest of which are raised by the oldest, most entrenched firms — and competition from relative newcomers, like  SoftBank . Q2 2018 may have set new records for worldwide VC deal and dollar volume in this post-dot com cycle, but that belies an important fact: Investors are dumping the bulk of capital into a relatively small number of companies. The rise of supergiant rounds wound up in a “takeover” of the market. The chart below shows the proportion of capital raised in rounds of $100 million or more, tracing the period between Q1 2017 and the end of Q2 2018. Just a little over a year ago, in Q1 2017, nine and 10-figure venture capital deals accounted for a healthy 35 percent of global dollar volume. Five quarters later, in Q2 2018, $100 million-and-up deals accounted for a majority — some 61 percent — of equity funding into upstart technology companies. It’s not just that these mega-rounds are eclipsing smaller counterparts as a percent of dollar volume totals. Supergiant rounds also appear to be driving most of the growth in reported dollar volume, as the chart below shows. Between Q1 2017 and Q2 2018, reported dollar volume in sub-$100 million deals grew by around 42 percent. By that same token, dollar volume in nine and 10-figure venture deals ballooned by about 325 percent over that stretch of time. Granted, this is all based on recorded data in Crunchbase. And like all private-market databases, Crunchbase is subject to some reporting delays

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *