Alphabet’s self-driving car division, Waymo, scored a big fundraising haul from a slate of outside investors.
The company raised $2.25 billion in a round led by Silver Lake, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, and Mubadala Investment Company, a UAE-based sovereign wealth fund. It is Waymo’s first outside round of fundraising.
“With this injection of capital and business acumen, alongside Alphabet, we’ll deepen our investment in our people, our technology, and our operations, all in support of the deployment of the Waymo Driver around the world,” said John Krafcik, Waymo’s CEO, in a blog post.
Waymo Driver refers to the technology that operates its self-driving cars, which have been deployed on a limited basis in a handful of U.S. metro areas. Waymo also operates a small ridehailing service in the Phoenix area, matching test riders with autonomous rides and charging for them.
Waymo is categorized in Alphabet’s Other Bets division, and is believed to have an operating cost of roughly $1 billion annually, according to The Information.
It’s an expensive endeavor, but one that Waymo -- and its investors -- hope will pay off eventually in the form of licensing agreements.
Other than the ridehailing service, called Waymo One, Waymo is testing a fleet of large Class A trucks, dubbed Waymo Via, in a number of states.
On a recent shareholder call, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said that Waymo is “working closely with OEMs [original equipment manufacturers]” to build out a delivery line of business.
Alphabet hasn’t disclosed any revenue for Waymo, but is expected to market the technology to firms with an interest in autonomous technology.
Last year, Waymo began offering a custom sensor it developed to companies in robotics, security, agricultural technology and other sectors outside of transportation. It also struck a partnership with Lyft (LYFT) - Get Report in 2019 that added a small number of Waymo cars to Lyft's ridehailing service in Phoenix.