Toyota-backed self-driving startup Pony.ai raises $100m Series C+ round

Self-driving vehicle

Toyota Motor-backed autonomous driving startup Pony.ai announced on Monday that it has pocketed $100 million in a Series C+ round of financing. The latest fundraising brings the total corpus raised by Pony.ai in its Series C round to $367 million.

The US-based startup, founded by Chinese professionals, completed the Series C round fundraising through two tranches, the company said in a WeChat post. The latest round roped in two new investors — Brunei’s state-owned sovereign wealth fund Brunei Investment Agency, and state-backed CITIC Group’s PE arm CITIC Private Equity Funds Management (CPE).

In November 2020, Pony.ai had closed the first tranche of Series C raising an aggregate of $267 million led by Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board’s (Ontario Teachers) Teachers’ Innovation Platform (OTPP). That round of financing was expected to boost its presence in the US and China, according to Reuters.

Pony.ai’s self-driving technology primarily caters to the US and China markets. Co-founded by Stanford University alumnus Dr. James Peng in California’s Fremont, Pony.ai has launched a gamut of robust solutions spanning across planning & control, localisation & HD mapping, infrastructure, hardware, and vehicle platforms.

Per its press release in December last year, Pony.ai received approval from Southeast China’s Guangzhou for conducting self-driving tests. Prior to that, the startup had successfully conducted over 3.5 million kilometers in road tests in the US and China.

Meanwhile, it has also rolled out the self-driving ride-hailing service Robotaxi in the US and China. In addition to ride-hailing solutions, the startup has forayed into autonomous truck logistics.

Since its inception in 2016, Pony.ai has raised over $1.1 billion funding from a string of international marquee investors comprising Sequoia Capital China, Beijing Kunlun Tech, DCM China, Legend Capital, Comcast Ventures, and 5Y Capital, among others. 

Japan’s Toyota had exclusively seeded $400m in the startup’s Series B round funding in February 2020. 

Of late, global investors are bullish on self-driving vehicles. IDG Capital led a $300 million funding in China’s ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing’s autonomous driving unit in January 2021.

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.