Another self-driving tech company seeded. BMW and Toyota's investment. Valeo and Denso ramp up startup activity.
Autonomous tech startups are already off to a strong start in Q3, as Optimus Ride joins the list of VC-backed self-driving bets with a $5.25M seed round led by NextView Ventures and FirstMark Capital. Optimus Ride had previously secured a debt financing last year.
Optimus Ride is another spinoff from MIT, with its core team comprised of several PhDs from the university. They follow nuTonomy, whose founder Karl Iagnemma headed MIT’s Robotic Mobility Group.
Other universities have also given rise to similar startups. Oxbotica, which just began UK road-testing this week, began life as an Oxford spinoff. Drive.ai was founded by labmates from Stanford’s AI lab, and of course Uber drew heavily on CMU researchers to build its Advanced Technologies Center.
Finally, the CB Insights Cruncher also caught a SEC Form D for the secretive Zoox. The new filing showed the full sale of a $50M equity offering, with the first sale date listed as October 3.
Shuttles in the spotlight
This week also saw French autonomous shuttle startup Navya raising $33M from auto supplier Valeo, among others. Last week Californian regulators cleared the way for EasyMile, also of France, to begin testing similar vehicles within a business park.