Autonomous Delivery Startup Nuro Nets $500M In Funding On $5B Valuation
The round was led by funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, with participation from new investors, including Fidelity Management & Research Company and Baillie Gifford. SoftBank Vision Fund 1 and Greylock, which are existing investors, also participated in the round, the post stated.
The company, according to Co-Founder Jiajun Zhu, is based around the idea of improving peoples’ lives through various kinds of robotic inventions, including their first one, a self-driving vehicle operating electronically to deliver goods to people.
“Something that could dramatically reduce the time we spend in cars picking things up from stores,” Zhu said in the post. “It turns out that we all spend so much time doing this that it’s roughly equivalent to a month’s worth of unpaid work every year for each American.”
According to Zhu, Nuro has now put out two versions of the autonomous delivery vehicle, including R2, which received the first and only federal exemption for an autonomous vehicle from the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, per the post. That vehicle also made headlines for being the first one to drive on public roads in three different states: California, Texas and Arizona.
The post noted that during the pandemic, self-driving cars can help reduce the spread of the virus.
Last year, Nuro announced it was working with Walmart on a pilot for autonomous grocery delivery. The program was implemented in Houston and used both the R2 and autonomous Toyota Priuses, which were powered via Nuro’s proprietary software and hardware. Walmart said Nuro’s mission “runs parallel” with its own of “helping customers live better.”
The shift to eCommerce has prompted a shift in logistics, with even the biggest companies looking for new, efficient ways to move products and take advantage of the latest technology.