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Amazon Invests in a Hot Self-Driving Startup

By NexChange
FinTech, Financial Services

It was really only a matter of time before Amazon eventually entered the autonomous driving space.

Having already entered the retail grocery market, the pharmaceutical industry and healthcare in addition to conquering bookselling, movie streaming and a lot of other things we’re probably forgetting – the e-commerce giant has joined Sequoia Capital in a $530-million Series B round for Aurora, “the buzzy startup founded by early pioneers of self-driving car technology,” as TechCrunch notes.

According to a blog post from Aurora announcing the fundraising round, both Amazon and T. Rowe Price Associates “are making significant investments” in the company. T. Rowe Price will be a long-term capital partner, according to Aurora.

“With this newest investment, we will accelerate the development of the Aurora Driver and strengthen our team and ecosystem,” the company added.

Carl Eschenbach, a partner at Sequoia, has joined Aurora’s board of directors. Lightspeed Venture Partners, Geodesic, Shell Ventures, and Reinvent Capital also participated in the Series B round, in addition to Greylock and Index Ventures, which are previous investors.

TechCrunch gives some background on the meteoric growth of the startup:

The company has already ramped up in its considerably short life. Since Sterling Anderson, Drew Bagnell and Chris Urmson founded the company in early 2017, they have set up offices in Palo Alto, San Francisco and Pittsburgh and announced partnerships with Volkswagen Group, Hyundai and Chinese electric vehicle startup Byton. The company has also made some key hires, including SpaceX’s former head of software engineering Jinnah Hosein, who is leading a software engineering team.

Sequoia’s “stamp of approval,” (as Urmson calls it) at such an early stage is significant. The inclusion of Amazon and T. Rowe Price are the two investors that show a long-term strategy has been put into play.

Aurora led Uber, Google and Tesla in their efforts to build self-driving technology, according to TechCrunch.

Photo: Aurora Innovations, Inc.

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