SoftBank bets on ex-Argo AI founders, Flexport’s founder cleans house and Cruise digs in

SoftBank bets on ex-Argo AI founders, Flexport’s founder cleans house and Cruise digs in

Welcome again to The Station, your central hub for all previous, current and future technique of shifting folks and packages from Level A to Level B.

This week was full of information, together with on this planet of startups — our favourite area. Earlier than we soar in, let me direct your consideration to Friday’s Fairness Podcast episode and remind y’all that I shall be interviewing Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt onstage later this month at Disrupt! I hope to see you all there.

Let’s go!

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Paris, the unique shared micromobility playground, has formally kicked all of its shared e-scooters out of the town. You may recall in April, the town held a referendum to resolve the destiny of shared scooters, and the outcomes have been overwhelmingly in favor of eliminating them. Take that with a grain of salt, although, as a result of most of those that confirmed as much as vote have been older individuals who doubtless see scooters as a menace to society, moderately than a inexperienced technique to get across the metropolis.

Regardless, in September, Lime, Dott and Tier have been advised to pack up their 15,000 scooters and go. Nevertheless it’s not the tip of shared electrical mobility in Paris. Now the town is encouraging extra e-bike sharing.

I caught up with Wayne Ting, CEO of Lime, who advised me that now Lime has much more e-bikes within the metropolis than it ever had scooters.

“I believe there’s a realization that individuals want inexperienced transportation alternate options, and if we take this alternative away from riders, how are they going to entry alternate options to get to work or faculty?” mentioned Ting. “There’s a perceived advantage with e-bikes and a special feeling about scooters, however they’re primarily the identical factor. One simply has larger wheels.”

Deal of the week

money the station

Buyers haven’t been lining as much as put money into autonomous car startups these days. I assume somebody forgot to cross alongside that memo to SoftBank Group.

Bryan Salesky, Peter Rander and Brett Browning — the trio behind the now-defunct Ford and VW-backed autonomous car startup Argo AI — have shaped a brand new firm known as Stack AV that’s targeted on commercializing self-driving vehicles.

And boy oh boy did they get an enormous test! SoftBank Group is the only real investor within the endeavor, and in accordance with reporting from Bloomberg, the agency invested upward of $1 billion into the startup.

It must be famous that the funding is coming from SoftBank Group, not the SoftBank Imaginative and prescient Fund, which has invested in a number of AV corporations, together with Aurora, Cruise, Didi Autonomous, Nuro and Robotic Analysis. In 2022, GM purchased SoftBank Imaginative and prescient Fund’s stake in Cruise for $2.1 billion.

Different offers that received my consideration this week . . . 

Ascend Components, U.S.-based producer of battery supplies for EVs, raised $542 million in new investments that features $460 million in a Sequence D spherical and $82 million of further funds from earlier this 12 months. Decarbonization Companions, Singapore-based funding agency Temasek, and Qatar Funding Authority (QIA) led the spherical. Different buyers embody Tenaska, Alliance Useful resource Companions, PULSE – CMA CGM Vitality Fund, BHP Ventures, Fifth Wall, Hitachi Ventures, Mirae Asset, At One Ventures, Agave Companions and Alumni Ventures. Necessary notice: The funding shall be paired with two U.S. Division of Vitality grants totaling $480 million to finance the development of a manufacturing unit in Kentucky. 

Autonomy, an EV subscription firm, mentioned it can purchase the expertise, belongings and buyer accounts from all-electric car car-sharing firm EV Mobility. Monetary phrases weren’t disclosed.

Envisics, a U.Okay.-based holographics firm constructing in-car expertise that tasks navigation, security alerts and different knowledge onto the within of a windshield, closed a $100 million Sequence C spherical. The corporate introduced the spherical’s first $50 million tranche in March, which included Hyundai Mobis, with participation from InMotion Ventures (the funding arm of Jaguar Land Rover) and Stellantis. This newest chunk included new buyers like M&G Investments.

Land, a Cleveland-based electrical motorbike maker, raised a Sequence A spherical that was led by Ancora. The corporate didn’t disclose the quantity of the fund besides to say it has raised a complete of $7 million to this point.

Lydian, a Massachusetts-based startup aiming to supply sustainable aviation gasoline (SAF), has raised $12 million in seed funding from Congruent Ventures and Impress Local weather Options. The startup will use the funds to construct a pilot plant able to producing greater than 5,000 gallons of SAF yearly.

Notable reads and different tidbits


Zeekr, the Chinese language efficiency EV model owned by Geely, has added Mobileye’s SuperVision ADAS to 110,000 of its automobiles by means of an over-the-air replace. New options embody point-to-point automated freeway navigation, lane adjustments, automated on/off-ramp help and clever visitors security features in “recognized operational design domains.”

Autonomous automobiles

Cruise made a lot of information this week. First up, protesters gathered outdoors the corporate’s headquarters in San Francisco after studies of one in all its robotaxis blocking an ambulance with a affected person on board who later died. Regardless of the San Francisco Hearth Division’s claims concerning the Cruise robotaxi blocking the ambulance, video footage says in any other case.

A number of days later, CEO Kyle Vogt mentioned throughout an interview on the Goldman Sachs Tech Convention that the corporate is near getting approval from federal regulators to mass-produce robotaxis with no steering wheel or pedals. It’s price noting that Vogt and Cruise have remained steadfast (and vocal) about the advantages of self-driving automobiles to scale back crashes. That stance hasn’t transformed opponents. If something, the anti-robotaxi group in San Francisco appears extra motivated than ever., the Shenzhen-headquartered robotaxi startup backed by Alibaba, plans to open an operations middle in Germany in 2024.

TuSimple lastly filed its This autumn and full 12 months 2022 earnings report. Sure, you learn that accurately. The corporate was on the verge of being kicked off the inventory marketplace for its tardiness however received a short lived reprieve in Might. TuSimple nonetheless must file Q1 and Q2 2023 studies earlier than its deadline of September 30.

The tl;dr: TuSimple continues to shift away from the USA and towards Asia. The corporate famous that it has shut down U.S. operations and doubled down on APAC operations. On the cash entrance, TuSimple introduced in income of $1.9 million in This autumn and $9.4 million for the complete 12 months 2022. The corporate’s web loss for This autumn was $138 million and for FY 2022 was $472 million. TuSimple closed 2022 with $615.4 million in money and money equivalents.

The corporate mentioned it will concentrate on testing and R&D whereas attempting to get a deal with on its loss-making income operations. TuSimple doesn’t anticipate to generate important income in 2023, “given its change within the U.S. fleet operations.”

Electrical automobiles, batteries & charging

Honda confirmed it can use Tesla’s EV charging port from 2025.

Lotus revealed its flagship all-electric and super-fast sedan, the Emeya.

Munich’s IAA Mobility 2023 occasion highlighted how far Chinese language EV makers have come. Try our roundup of the European and Chinese language automobiles that debuted.

Tesla’s yet-to-be launched Cybertruck was noticed in an everyday ol’ parking storage in San Francisco and new pictures of the inside have been shared.

In-car tech

BMW realized what everybody else already has — charging for heated seats isn’t cool.

Google’s quarterly Android updates embody Zoom and Webex assist in automobiles.

The Polestar 4 will launch in China with its personal smartphone.


Flexport founder Ryan Petersen is again within the CEO spot after his handpicked successor — Amazon’s former shopper chief Dave Clark — was pushed out. The sudden ousting wasn’t the tip of the drama. Petersen took to social media to announce the corporate would rescind dozens of employment presents and take different measures to get prices beneath management. Petersen and the board had purchased into Clark’s massive imaginative and prescient for progress, however that confidence lasted about (checks notes) one 12 months.

Woven by Toyota, the mobility tech subsidiary of the automaker, is shuffling its govt decks. James Kuffner shall be changed by Hajime Kumabe as CEO. Kuffner will now be a “senior fellow” at Toyota, the place he’ll handle the skilled growth of software program engineers.

Seize your cross to TC Disrupt 2023

We’re protecting all issues sustainable mobility at TechCrunch Disrupt 2023, going down in San Francisco on September 19–21. Final-minute passes are nonetheless obtainable. Save 15% with code STATION. Register now!


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