Driverless Delivery Startup Nuro Raises $500M Amid Hiring Push

by Ellen Glover
November 9, 2020
Mountain View-based Nuro raised $500M for its driverless delivery robots
Photo: Nuro

Self-driving delivery startup Nuro announced Monday it closed on a $500 million funding round, which it will use to scale up production of its robot vehicles and grow its team. The company currently has dozens of open tech positions available now at its Mountain View headquarters.

Nuro’s second-generation vehicle, R2, can autonomously deliver everything from groceries to retail products. The unit has no steering wheel or pedals, and can only carry packages — not people.

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The company last raised money in early 2019 when SoftBank invested nearly $1 billion. Since then, R2 has operated fully autonomously on public roads in California, Texas and Arizona, with no drivers, occupants or chase cars present. Nuro also received the first and only federal exemption for its autonomous vehicle and has partnered with major brands including Domino’s, Walmart and Kroger.

This round was led by T. Rowe Price Associates, with participation from new and existing investors like Baillie Gifford and SoftBank. Nuro CEO and co-founder Jiajun Zhu says it is an indicator of a much larger shift in the autonomous vehicle space, when reliable and contactless delivery are more important than ever.

Indeed, with other autonomous vehicle companies like Pony.ai and Waymo landing massive funding rounds this year, it seems investors are betting on a largely driverless future.

“We are witnessing an unprecedented shift in consumer demand for safe and affordable local delivery services,” Zhu said in a statement. “This funding, which brings us together with many of the world’s top investors, positions Nuro confidently toward a future where our world-class technology is adopted into people’s everyday lives.”

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