Aurora, a self-driving startup, announced yesterday that it has raised over $530 million in Series B financing round led by Sequoia, an American venture capital firm. Apart from securing funds from Sequoia, the firm has received huge investments from Amazon and T. Rowe Price Associates. Aurora’s valuation has been now pushed to more than $2.5 billion.
“Amazon’s unique expertise, capabilities, and perspectives will be valuable for us as we drive towards our mission. We are also looking forward to having T. Rowe Price with us on this journey as a long-term capital partner”, states the Aurora team on a Medium blog post.
Amazon signed on as a partner for Toyota’s new mobility alliance called e-palette concept, last year, that aimed to develop fully autonomous electric vehicles. Aurora might be Amazon’s first official investment in self-driving tech, though it has not been confirmed by Amazon yet. “We are always looking to invest in innovative, customer-obsessed companies, and Aurora is just that. Autonomous technology has the potential to help make the jobs of our employees and partners safer and more productive … we’re excited about the possibilities,” Amazon told Forbes.
Other partners to join the funding round includes Lightspeed Venture Partners, Geodesic, Shell Ventures, and Reinvent Capital along with previous investors Greylock and Index Ventures, who made investments worth $90 million last year in Aurora. In total, Aurora has now secured worth $620M in funding over two rounds.
Additionally, Carl Eschenbach, a partner at Sequoia, will be now joining Aurora’s existing board of directors, namely, Mike Volpi, Reid Hoffman, and Ian Smith. Eschenbach has past experience in operations, partnerships, and scaling companies, which will add immense value to growing Aurora.
— Aurora (@aurora_inno) February 7, 2019
Aurora was found in 2017 by Chris Urmson, who previously led Google’s pioneering self-driving car program, and was later joined in by two other leaders in the autonomous driving industry – Drew Bagnell, formerly of Uber, and Sterling Anderson of Tesla. The firm has made incredible achievements in a short period of 2 years that it has stayed in the market. The company now has new offices in Palo Alto, San Francisco, and Pittsburgh in the US. Also, two of the world’s largest automakers, namely, Volkswagen and Hyundai have offered their self-driving car software to Aurora, in addition to Chinese electric vehicle startup Byton.
According to Mike Volpi, Aurora partner and board member, the company is “poised to win the self-driving market”. In the blog published yesterday, Volpi mentions how Aurora has a competitive advantage in the market because of its position as an independent company and the fact that it’s a full-stack provider to the Autonomous vehicle market.
Phenomenal financing and progress at @aurora_inno. It's been a privilege to be working with @chris_urmson @sterling_a and Drew Bagnell. Can't wait for the day I stop driving. Here are my thoughts: https://t.co/Is1QfLoEnK
— Mike Volpi (@mavolpi) February 7, 2019
“With this newest investment, we will accelerate the development of the Aurora Driver and strengthen our team and ecosystem. The investment and strategic partners we bring on board today will help us build an enduring company”, writes the Aurora team.