Self-driving truck startup Plus raises $220m led by Fountainvest, Clearvue

Photo by Markus Spiske from Pexels

U.S. autonomous truck startup Plus said on Wednesday it had raised an extra $220 million from investors in an extension of a $200 million funding round in February, as the global auto industry looks to a driverless future.

A source with direct knowledge of the matter also said Plus was in advanced talks with a few special purpose acquisition companies (SPAC) over a potential merger, adding an announcement was expected within weeks.

SPACs are becoming an increasingly popular way for private companies to seek public listings as a cheaper and less administratively burdensome alternative to an initial public offering (IPO).

The latest funding round was led by FountainVest Partners and ClearVue Partners, Plus said in a statement. Other investors included Quanta Computer Inc and Millennium Technology Value Partners, as well as existing investors including Sequoia Capital, SAIC Motor and Full Truck Alliance.

Plus raised $200 million in February from investors such as Guotai Junan International, CPE, and Wanxiang International Investment.

Plus did not disclose its valuation after the fundraising.

The Cupertino-based startup, which was founded in 2016, has a joint venture with China’s state-owned automaker FAW to develop and build autonomous trucks. It is testing trucks in the United States, China and Europe.

With the funding, it will accelerate its production and deliveries of autonomous trucks and improve research capabilities.

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.

Plus‘ rival TuSimple filed for a U.S. IPO earlier this month. Other self-driving companies such as Velodyne, Luminar Technologies and Aeva have also recently filed to go public, banking on a historic boom in U.S. capital markets.

Reuters

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.

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.