NURO’S NEW FUNDING ROUND
Nuro was founded a little over 4 years ago with the mission of accelerating the benefits of robotics for everyday life.
Today, we are excited to announce a new $500 million Series C funding round, led by funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc., with participation from new investors including Fidelity Management & Research Company, LLC. and Baillie Gifford. Existing investors SoftBank Vision Fund 1 and Greylock are also investing in the round.
When we started Nuro, my co-founder Dave and I set out to build a team that would apply its core expertise in robotics to develop products that can free us to use our own time on the things and people we value most. For our first product, we decided to focus on building an all-new electric self-driving vehicle to transport goods instead of people. Something that could dramatically reduce the time we spend in cars picking things up from stores. 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.
We have now developed two generations of our lightweight autonomous delivery vehicle. R2, our second generation vehicle, received the first and only federal exemption for an autonomous vehicle granted by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). R2 was also the first vehicle to operate fully autonomously on public roads in three different states — California, Texas, and Arizona — with no drivers, no occupants, and no chase cars.
We now know that our industry, self-driving local delivery, will not only make it easier to buy groceries, hot food, prescription drugs, and other products, but will also positively impact local economies, and serve low-income communities living in food deserts. And during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have learned that contactless delivery of goods — the service R2 provides — can help reduce the spread. The underlying need and excitement for a better way of moving local goods is shared by our growing list of partners, including Domino’s, Walmart, Kroger, and CVS.
With this latest round of funding securing a long runway of future technology development and commercialization, we at Nuro could not be more excited about what the next 4 years will bring.
Author - Jiajun Zhu, Co-Founder & CEO, Nuro
Two and a half years ago, JZ and I met with Ike’s co-founders Nancy, Alden, and Jur to discuss our shared vision around realizing the potential of self-driving technology in years rather than decades. There was an instant connection around first moving goods rather than people and the importance of investing in culture and building the right team. It was this connection that led us to do something rather unusual in the AV industry: we licensed our SW stack in exchange for an equity stake in Ike.
We have maintained a close relationship ever since — sharing a slack channel and serving as advisors to one another. This relationship has grown into a shared affinity between our teams that goes beyond technology and ownership. In fact, my personal connection with Jur dates back over 15 years to when we were PhD students writing research papers together. This bond is what makes today’s news that Nuro is acquiring Ike so exciting for all of us at Nuro.
Having Ike join us in accelerating our progress is a truly special moment that feels a bit like a homecoming. When Ike first started, they did so inside our office. We shared a common space and a common goal, with lots of excitement and too few conference rooms.
Ever since then, we have watched as Ike developed not just one of the most rigorous safety-first and systems-based approaches to self-driving development, but also a team that is widely regarded as one of the brightest in our field. The combination of the two, along with the ability to readily integrate some of their core technology (like their world-class virtual simulation tool), is what made the opportunity to have them join us a natural fit.
We look forward to all we’ll be able to accomplish together, knowing that our horizon of possible applications has been expanded with the addition of the Ike team and their expertise. And we are thrilled to have them join us in our collective mission.
To the Ike team: we are humbled that you have chosen to be a part of Nuro. Having you join us as colleagues will not only improve our technical and commercial progress, it will enrich our culture and make us all the better for it. JZ and I have consistently told our team that the thing we are the most proud of building these past 4 years is our team of passionate people. This sense of pride is being reaffirmed today.
Welcome aboard Ike!
Author - Dave Ferguson, Co-Founder, Nuro