Image source: WeRide
Chinese driverless car start-up WeRide Corp announced Wednesday it has completed its Series C fundraising round, bringing in $310 million at a valuation of $3.3 billion dollars.
Investors in the latest round included Alliance Ventures (the venture capital arm of the Renault Nissan Mitsubishi Alliance), the state-run China Structural Reform Fund and CDB Equipment Manufacturing Industrial Investment Fund, WeRide said in a press release.
The company had completed its Series B round in January 2021, which also brought in $310 million.
Founded in 2017, WeRide is one of China’s most funded autonomous vehicle technology startups with backers that include bus maker Yutong, facial recognition company SenseTime and Alliance Ventures.
In a statement Wednesday, Nissan Motor Company chief operating officer Ashwani Gupta said, “As China stands at the forefront of helping define the future of mobility, we are delighted to partner with WeRide to bring even more innovative technologies and services to enrich people’s lives in China.”
Gupta also noted Nissan’s “long history of delivering leading-edge technologies in electrification and autonomous driving.”
WeRide founder and chief executive officer Tony Han said, “Being a top-notch player in automobile industry, Nissan has been a key partner of ours. Throughout the past three years, they have been playing a critical role in supporting WeRide’s autonomous driving platform, hence, enabling us to establish a leading fleet of Robotaxis.”
“With the continued support of Nissan, we will accelerate the commercial use of our driverless Robotaxis in China,” he said.
The company is currently testing driverless vehicles in California and China.
Han previously told CNBC he predicts the large-scale application of self-driving taxis will occur between 2023 and 2025. He also expects WeRide will start to make money from the business in 2025.
On Wednesday, China Structural Reform Fund general manager Ran Wei said, “We have been very optimistic about the development of autonomous driving. As one of the pioneers of autonomous driving in China, WeRide is leading the industry with its edge on proprietary technology, most of all, its product commercialization and well-executed operation. We believe this investment will fast-track the application of autonomous driving into urban transportation, delivering smart, safe, and green transportation experience.”
WeRide is one of several companies trying to take the lead in the autonomous driving business, competing against other start-ups like AutoX and Pony.ai.
Source: Equities News