Alphabet’s self-driving car company Waymo announces $2.5 billion investment round

Tech

Close-up of self driving minivan, with LIDAR and other sensor units and logo visible, part of Google parent company Alphabet Inc, driving past historic railroad station with sign reading Mountain View, in the Silicon Valley town of Mountain View, California, with safety driver visible, October 28, 2018.
Smith Collection/Gado | Archive Photos | Getty Images

Google sibling company Waymo announced a $2.5 billion investment round Wednesday, which will go toward advancing its autonomous driving technology and growing its team.

The funding round follows the departure of Waymo CEO John Krafcik in April, and criticism that the company is moving slower than expected toward commercialization of its technology. Waymo and other self-driving companies have found adoption to be more difficult than expected. The company, for example, still largely relied on human safety drivers last summer.

Waymo is one of Alphabet’s “Other Bets” that continues to lose money and the latest funding shows the company is increasingly relying on other investors to help support the unit.

Waymo has already deployed its autonomous vehicles in Phoenix as a ride-hailing service. The company’s delivery unit, Waymo Via, is also working with freight partners and delivery clients like UPS to transport goods.

Waymo previously raised $2.25 billion in its first external funding round last year. Prior to that, Alphabet supported the business itself, as it does the rest of its “Other Bets,” but the funding move showed Waymo sought even more capital.

Waymo says it eventually wants individuals to be able to own and operate vehicles using its autonomous driving technology. The company said it’s driven tens of millions of miles on public roads across 25 cities in the U.S. so far.

The latest round includes funding from Waymo parent company Alphabet, Andreessen Horowitz, AutoNation, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Fidelity Management & Research Company, Magna International, Mubadala Investment Company, Perry Creek Capital, Silver Lake, funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc., Temasek, and Tiger Global.

CNBC’s Phil LeBeau contributed to this report.

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