Waymo raises $2.25bn in first external investment round

3 Mar 2020

A Waymo depot in Chandler, Arizona. Image: Waymo

Alphabet’s self-driving car business Waymo has raised $2.25bn in funding from investors including Magna International and Andreessen Horowitz.

Yesterday (2 March), autonomous driving tech development company Waymo, which is owned by Alphabet Inc, announced that it has closed its first round of external funding.

In a statement, Waymo said that it has raised $2.25bn from investors including Silver Lake, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Mubadala Investment Company, as well as Magna International, Andreessen Horowitz, AutoNation and Alphabet.

The investment comes as the company has reached some major operational and technical milestones. It said that the Waymo Driver has now driven more than 20m miles on public roads across more than 25 cities in the US, and over 10bn miles in simulation.

The company did not disclose its latest valuation after the investment round.

Funding plans

With $2.25bn in fresh funding, Waymo now plans to invest in its employees, its technology and its operations. The company is currently providing a self-driving ride-hailing service to customers in Arizona, where Waymo claims to have provided “thousands” of fully driverless rides to users.

The Waymo Driver has been deployed across a variety of vehicle platforms and business applications, according to the company, including the Waymo Via, which is focused on goods delivery.

Waymo CEO John Krafcik said: “We’ve always approached our mission as a team sport, collaborating with our OEM and supplier partners, our operations partners and the communities we serve to build and deploy the world’s most experienced driver.

“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.”

Future follow-ups

According to Business Insider, Krafcik told reporters that this was an “initial” round and that the company has plans for follow-up investment.

The CEO also said that there is a possibility that Waymo could spin out from Alphabet following the success of the round. While that is a possibility, Krafcik also noted that having access to Alphabet’s technological resources represents a “significant advantage”.

Egon Durban, co-CEO of Silver Lake, said: “[Waymo] is the only autonomous vehicle company with a public ride-hailing service, and is successfully scaling its fully driverless experience. We’re deeply aligned with Waymo’s commitment to making our roads safer, and look forward to working together to help advance and scale the Waymo Driver in the US and beyond.”

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic