Amazon, Sequoia Invest in $2 Billion Self-Drive Startup Aurora

Self-driving vehicle startup Aurora has raised Series B investments of $530 million, valuing the company at over $2 billion, the company said yesterday.

“This is a great amount of capital for us to build from,” CEO Chris Urmson—who previously helped start Alphabet-owned Waymo—told the Wall Street Journal.

Tesla shares dropped more than 3% yesterday after Aurora’s announcement.

The company is hiring dozens of software and automotive engineers in Palo Alto, San Francisco and Pittsburgh, and already has a number of big names from other self-driving giants on board, such as Urmson, who told Fortune last year that what sets it apart is its policy of hiring “good human beings.”

Another co-founder is Sterling Anderson, who previously worked at Tesla and settled a suit with the Elon Musk-co-found in April 2017 following accusations that he attempted to poach engineers and proprietary information.

The third co-founder is Drew Bagnell, formerly of Uber, while, as part of this funding round, Sequoia partner Carl Eschenbach will join Aurora’s board.

Aurora has partnerships with Volkswagen and Hyundai but its technology could apply to vehicles beyond cars. For example, yesterday’s funding round included Amazon, which could someday use autonomous vehicle technology “in a fulfillment center or on the road,” it said in a statement.

Amazon made “significant investments” in Aurora, the tech start-up said in a press release.

“This funding and partnership will accelerate our mission of delivering the benefits of self-driving technology safely, quickly, and broadly,” an Aurora statement added.


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