Softbank & Greylock lead $159m Series B in autonomous vehicle firm Nauto

SoftBank Group Corp. Chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son speaks during an earnings briefing in Tokyo, Japan, July 28, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Autonomous vehicle technology company Nauto has closed a $159 million Series B financing round, led by a subsidiary of SoftBank Group Corp. and Greylock Partners.

In an official statement, SoftBank Group Corp. Chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son said, “While building an increasingly intelligent telematics business, Nauto is also generating a highly valuable dataset for autonomous driving, at massive scale. This data will help accelerate the development and adoption of safe, effective self-driving technology.”

Other participants include previous strategic investors BMW iVentures, General Motors Ventures, Toyota AI Ventures and the venture unit of global financial services and insurance provider Allianz Group, and Series A investors Playground Global and Draper Nexus.

The transaction will see Greylock’s Hoffman and SoftBank’s Shu Nyatta take board seats at Nauto, joining existing members including Nauto’s Stefan Heck, automotive industry veteran Karen C. Francis (Ford, GM) and Bruce Leak of Playground Global.

The funds will fuel Nauto’s growth and the deployment of its retrofit safety and networking system into more vehicles around the globe, as well as support the expansion of the Nauto data platform in autonomous vehicle R&D across multiple automakers.

Nauto is an automotive data platform, powered by AI and an after-market dual-camera device, which can equip any vehicle or fleet with sophisticated safety and networking features.

The Nauto 2 system also includes a new windshield mounted hardware design, updated deep learning and computer vision algorithms and smart cloud network informed by the accumulation of more than a million miles on urban streets and highways.

“SoftBank and Greylock, along with our key strategic partners, are turbo-charging Nauto’s ability to make roads safer today and to create an onramp to autonomy for the near future,” said Nauto founder and CEO Stefan Heck.

“At a time when traffic fatalities are climbing and distracted driving causes more than half of all crashes, we’re tackling that problem by putting Nauto’s safety features into more commercial fleet vehicles — from trucks and vans to buses and passenger cars — to warn drivers and coach them on how to stay focused.”

Also Read:

SoftBank Vision Fund leads $200m bet on Valley startup Plenty

Asia Inc perpetual bonds have bumper year as Softbank joins ranks

Grab raising $2b from SoftBank, Didi Chuxing at a $5b valuation, says WSJ

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.