nuTonomy, the three-year old Singapore-based startup, has been attracting eyeballs ever since it unveiled the first-ever public trial of autonomous robo-taxi. Now, as the self-driving car startup gears up for a full commercial launch in 2018, it is reportedly in conversation with potential investors to raise fresh funds.
Backed by Ford Motor Co. Chairman Bill Ford and Singapore’s government, nuTonomy has secured $20 million till date. CEO Karl Iagnemma in an interview said,
We’ve had interest from every corner of the globe because it is really a global opportunity. The challenge is to find the right investors and make sure you’re aligned with groups who share your strategic vision.
Karl said the new round is expected to close in the first half of 2017, and will be “multiples” of the $16 million funds they raised in May. The company has had conversations with Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund Temasek Holdings in the past.
The existing investors of nuTonomy include Highland Capital Partners LLC and EDBI, the investment arm of the Singapore Economic Development Board, Fontinalis Partners, co-founded by Ford, Signal Ventures and Samsung Ventures.
Founded in 2013 by Iagnemma and Emilio Frazzoli, nuTonomy plans to have 100 taxis working commercially in the island-nation by 2018. With its recent partnership with ride-hailing service Grab, it has allowed select passengers to book and ride the driverless vehicles within a western Singapore district, where the vehicles are being tested.
The public trial will run for the next two months, and may be extended by the companies for as long as it continues to yield valuable feedback and data, the company had mentioned.
We basically woke up one day and realized the work we’ve been doing, our entire career, is now sitting at the center of this massive global opportunity. It would be crazy not to try to commercialize the technology and get it deployed as quickly as we can.
said Iagnemma, also an award winning fiction author.
NuTonomy has associated with major automakers including Jaguar Land Rover. It is also in talks with a number of cities, including London and Dubai, interested in deploying self-driving vehicles in the future. Its aim is to expand its service through Asia and the world. Iagnemma signed off saying,
The reality is that there will be multiple winners. We are confident that we will be one of those teams.