The funding environment for self-driving startups is turning cold, local media said.
(Image credit: WeRide)
Chinese self-driving startup WeRide closed a new round of over $400 million in funding in recent days, giving it a post-investment valuation of $4.4 billion, tech media outlet LatePost reported today.
Investors in the round included GAC Group, Bosch, China-Arab Investment Funds, and Carlyle Group, the report said, adding that all of the investors, except GAC, are new shareholders.
WeRide and Pony.ai, backed by Toyota Motor and NIO, are currently the highest valued self-driving startups in China, while China-Arab Investment Funds also previously invested in Pony.ai, the report noted.
Both companies' funding pace has accelerated since 2020, when they each raised more than $1 billion to date, reflecting the previous period of capital market enthusiasm for the sector, the report said.
But now, the funding environment for such companies is turning cold, the report noted.
Investors have become more pessimistic about the self-driving sector this year, and these companies are still able to close large rounds of funding probably because the investors' decisions were made last year, the report said, citing an investment banker.
Earlier today, WeRide said it will build its next-generation self-driving solution based on Nvidia's self-driving platform DRIVE Hyperion.
With the power of the DRIVE Orin SoC, WeRide will accelerate the commercial adoption of several of its self-driving products, including Robotaxi, Robobus and Robovan.
Founded in 2017 and with global headquarters in Guangzhou, WeRide is an intelligent mobility company with L4 autonomous driving technology.
In November 2019, WeRide launched China's first Robotaxi operation service fully open to the public in Guangzhou, covering hundreds of square kilometers of core urban open roads in Huangpu District and Guangzhou Development Zone.
On December 14, 2021, GAC announced that it will invest $30 million in WeRide through its subsidiary.
On January 17 of this year, WeRide said it had surpassed 10 million kilometers of self-driving miles on the open road, including more than 2.5 million fully driverless kilometers.
WeRide puts self-driving buses without steering wheel or brake pedal into operation