Alphabet’s self-driving company unit Waymo raised $2.25 billion last week in its first external funding round with most of the money coming from external parties within the Silicon Valley.
The huge inflow of funds towards Google’s Waymo is a clear sign that many investors believe in the future of autonomous driving technology and won’t stop Alphabet (GOOGL) from realising its vision.
“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,” said John Krafcik, CEO of Waymo in a blog post.
“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.
The investment will go towards hiring employees, and investments in technology and global operations, the company stated, adding that its driving technology has accrued more than 20 million miles on public roads and 10 billion simulated miles.
Alphabet’s self-driving company didn’t fully disclose the valuation its investors granted it. However, JPMorgan analyst Doug Anmuth noted that his firm’s talks with investors suggest Waymo’s value being within $50 billion, and could possibly be much higher.
Who are the investors behind the huge investment into Waymo
The amount of money being thrown at the self-driving project under Google is a clear sign that even its other small companies and ideas need more capital than its willing to invest since most of its revenue comes from the digital Ads arm it runs on its search engine.
In last week’s round, companies like Alphabet itself along with outside firms including Silver Lake, Andreessen Horowitz, Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund (Mubadala Investment Company), Canada’s pension plan and AutoNation, disclosed on Monday last week that they had invested millions of dollars into the autonomous driving project.
Silver Lake, which is one the global leaders in technology investing, with over $43 billion in combined assets under management has been an influential investor in supporting Alphabet’s projects. A year ago, the outside firm invested around $1 billion in Alphabet’s life sciences company Verily.
Waymo’s ride-hailing service, Waymo One, currently operates mostly in the East Valley side of Phoenix, Arizona area. The company, which is testing in other U.S. cities, also said it operates on “business applications,” including a delivery service it calls Waymo Via.
Despite facing a lot of road blocks, self-driving cars are continuing to make an impact on today’s automobile sector with investors and analysts believing that they will become widespread one day though it is still several years out.
Author: Allan Bangirana
Allan Bangirana has a taste for all kinds of topics and usually writes about tech, entertainment, sports and community projects that make a difference in society.