Aurora Innovation has been lifted up as one of the brightest self-driving car startup companies. This is in part thanks to comments from last year from LinkedIn's co-founder and venture capitalist Reid Hoffman. Hoffman called Chris Urmson, the CEO of Aurora, "the Henry Ford of autonomous vehicles.”
Aurora, the developer of a full-stack self-driving software system for automobile manufacturers, is raising at least $500 million in equity funding at more than a $2 billion valuation in a round expected to be led by new investor Sequoia Capital, according to a Recode report. A $500 million financing would bring Aurora’s total raised to date to $596 million and would provide a 4x increase to its most recent valuation.
The company, founded in 2016, raised a $90 million Series A last February from Hoffman’s Greylock Partners and Index Ventures . Hoffman and Index general partner Mike Volpi joined Aurora’s board as part of the deal. Greylock and Index are Aurora’s only existing investors, per PitchBook data. The young business has a lean cap table often characteristic of startup’s led by experienced entrepreneurs able to secure financing deals briskly from top VCs.
Aurora’s C-suite is chock-full of veteran AV workers. Urmson, for his part, formerly headed up the self-driving vehicles program at Google, now known as Waymo. Chief technology officer Drew Bagnell was head of perception and autonomy at Uber and Sterling Anderson, Aurora’s chief product officer, directed the autopilot program at Tesla from 2015 to 2016.
“Between these three co-founders, they have been thinking and working collectively in robotics, automation automotive products for over 40 years,” Hoffman wrote in a blog post announcing Aurora’s Series A funding.
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