DeepRoute.ai Ltd. today said it has closed it Series B funding round, with investment totaling more than $300 million (U.S.). The company is developing self-driving technology for robotic taxicabs and medium-duty trucks. It said the funding will further research and development, help scale automaker collaboration and fleet operation, and support the expansion of its team.
“We appreciate our forward-looking investors for their support,” said Maxwell Zhou, CEO of DeepRoute.ai. “Our DeepRoute.ai team is excited to bring more robotaxis to the streets and expand to urban logistics. We are excited for the future of autonomous vehicles and the positive societal impact we will have.”
DeepRoute.ai expanding fleet
DeepRoute.ai said its team includes leading experts from Ford, Google, Intel, Microsoft, and other innovators. The company's Chinese headquarters are in Shenzhen and U.S. headquarters are in Fremont, Calif. It claimed that it was the first company to be granted a permit to operate robotaxis in Shenzhen's Central Business District, where it currently services over 100 pick-up and drop-off points.
Following a COVID-19 outbreak in Guandong, China's most populous province, DeepRoute.ai said it autonomously transported approximately 14,000 COVID-19 test samples per day to local hospitals for testing.
In addition to expanding the types of vehicles deployed, DeepRoute.ai plans to grow its robotaxi fleet to more than 150 by the end of 2021. It said will own about 100 of that total, as interest in autonomous transportation and demand for affordable ride-hailing services increase.
DeepRoute.ai is currently operating in Wuhan and Shenzhen, with more than 1.2 million miles driven safely on public roads. The company also received a Passenger Carry Permit from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) in June.
Alibaba leads round
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. led the oversubscribed round, with a $200 million stake announced last month. DeepRoute.ai said it is the only autonomous driving company in China with Alibaba Group as strategic investor.
Other venture capital companies such as Jeneration Capital participated, as did previous investors Fosun RZ Capital, Yunqi Partners, and Glory Ventures. Terms of the investment were not disclosed.
“The self-driving technology market is highly competitive and features many exciting innovations,” said Jason Tan, partner and chief investment officer of Jeneration Capital. “We believe DeepRoute.ai’s engineering team and proven record of success to date will enable it to continue to be a leading innovator, empowering more businesses and services in a variety of industries.”
“DeepRoute.ai is the first autonomous driving company we have invested in,” added Grace Liu, Fosun global partner and co-president of Fosun RZ Capital. “Since Pre-A funding, [DeepRoute.ai has] surpassed our expectations in both technology innovation and business cooperation.”
DeepRoute.ai said its mobility services, including the DeepRoute-Link medium-duty trucks and DeepRoute-INJOY robotaxis, will provide sustainable and profitable revenue streams. The company said it will also continue to establish and maintain partnerships with major automakers to offer safe and new riding experiences for the public.
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