Chinese self-driving startup Momenta raises $500m from SAIC, Toyota, others

Photo: Reuters

Chinese autonomous driving startup Momenta said on Friday it has received $500 million from SAIC Motor, Toyota Motor and auto parts supplier Bosch, as the global auto industry pursues the autonomous future.

Other investors in the funding round include Daimler AG, Temasek, Yunfeng Capital and Tencent, Momenta said in a statement. It did not disclose the valuation.

The four-year-old firm, led by Cao Xudong, a former Microsoft executive, is testing autonomous cars in Beijing and China’s eastern city of Suzhou, and has a research centre in Germany’s Stuttgart.

Momenta is working with automakers to develop mass-production vehicles with self-driving functions to gather real-time data for the fully autonomous driving technologies for future products. Data is a key part of the self-driving industry which enables companies to improve their technologies in different environments.

Momenta will expand its workforce and gather more data to improve future technologies, it said.

Toyota last year partnered with Momenta to develop a high definition (HD) mapping platform in China for autonomous driving vehicles, a key to allowing such vehicles to locate themselves.

Shanghai-based SAIC Motor is China’s biggest automaker, which has partnerships with Volkswagen AG and General Motors Co. On Thursday it said would partner with U.S. lidar maker Luminar Technologies to develop self-driving vehicles.

Automakers and technology firms are investing billions of dollars in autonomous driving, aiming to take an early lead in what many consider the future of road transport, though some industry insiders say it will take time for the public to fully place their trust in these vehicles.

Reuters

Singapore Reporter/s

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Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.