Toyota-backed Self-driving Startup Pony.ai Raises $100M Series C+ Round
by DealStreetAsia 2021-02-09
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source: Official Website

Toyota Motor-backed autonomous driving startup Pony.ai announced on Monday that it has pocketed $100 million in a Series C+ round of financing. The latest fundraising brings the total corpus raised by Pony.ai in its Series C round to $367 million.


The US-based startup, founded by Chinese professionals, completed the Series C round fundraising through two tranches, the company said in a WeChat post. The latest round roped in two new investors — Brunei’s state-owned sovereign wealth fund Brunei Investment Agency, and state-backed CITIC Group’s PE arm CITIC Private Equity Funds Management (CPE).


In November 2020, Pony.ai had closed the first tranche of Series C raising an aggregate of $267 million led by Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board’s (Ontario Teachers) Teachers’ Innovation Platform (OTPP). That round of financing was expected to boost its presence in the US and China, according to Reuters.


Pony.ai’s self-driving technology primarily caters to the US and China markets. Co-founded by Stanford University alumnus Dr. James Peng in California’s Fremont, Pony.ai has launched a gamut of robust solutions spanning across planning & control, localisation & HD mapping, infrastructure, hardware, and vehicle platforms.


Per its press release in December last year, Pony.ai received approval from Southeast China’s Guangzhou for conducting self-driving tests. Prior to that, the startup had successfully conducted over 3.5 million kilometers in road tests in the US and China.


Meanwhile, it has also rolled out the self-driving ride-hailing service Robotaxi in the US and China. In addition to ride-hailing solutions, the startup has forayed into autonomous truck logistics.


Since its inception in 2016, Pony.ai has raised over $1.1 billion funding from a string of international marquee investors comprising Sequoia Capital China, Beijing Kunlun Tech, DCM China, Legend Capital, Comcast Ventures, and 5Y Capital, among others.


Japan’s Toyota had exclusively seeded $400m in the startup’s Series B round funding in February 2020.

Of late, global investors are bullish on self-driving vehicles. IDG Capital led a $300 million funding in China’s ride- hailing giant Didi Chuxing’s autonomous driving unit in January 2021.


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