SoftBank bets on former Argo AI founders, Flexport founder cleans house, and Cruise digs

Image credits: Stack off

Welcome back to the station, your central hub for all past, present and future means of transporting people and packages from Point A to Point B.

This week has been full of news, including news about the startup world, our favorite industry. Before we get started, let me direct your attention to Friday Stock podcast episode and I remind you all that I will be doing the interview Sea trip CEO Kyle Vogt On stage later this month at Disrupt! I hope to see you all there.

Let’s go!


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Microbean

Paris, the original shared playground for micromobility, has officially kicked all of its shared e-scooters out of town. You may remember that in April, the city held a referendum to decide the fate of shared scooters, and the results were overwhelmingly in favor of getting rid of them. However, take this seriously, because most of those who showed up to vote were elderly people who would likely view scooters as a danger to society, rather than a green way to get around town.

Regardless, in September, Lime, doctor And class They were told to pack their 15,000 scooters and go. But it is not the end of shared electric mobility in Paris. Now the city is encouraging more e-bike sharing.

I caught up with Wayne Tingthe CEO of Lime, who told me that Lime now has more e-bikes in the city than ever before.

“I think there’s a recognition that people need green transportation alternatives, and if we take that choice away from commuters, how are they going to be able to access alternatives to get to work or school?” Ting said. “There’s a perceived advantage to e-bikes and a different feel to scooters, but they’re basically the same thing. One has bigger wheels.

Deal of the week

Investors haven’t been lining up to invest in self-driving car startups lately. I think someone forgot to pass that note to him Softbank Group.

Brian Salesky, Peter Rander And Brett Browning The trio behind Ford and VW-backed autonomous vehicle startup Argo AI have formed a new company called Stack off Which focuses on marketing self-driving trucks.

And boy oh boy did they get a big check! The SoftBank Group is the sole investor in the endeavor, and according to reports from Bloomberg, the company has invested upwards of $1 billion in the startup.

It should be noted that the investment comes from the SoftBank Group, not the SoftBank Vision Fund, which has invested in several autonomous vehicle companies, including Aurora, Cruise, Didi Autonomous, Nuro and Robotic Research. In 2022, GM bought SoftBank Vision Fund’s stake in Cruise for $2.1 billion.

Other deals that caught my attention this week. . .

Rising elements, the US-based manufacturer of battery materials for electric vehicles, raised $542 million in new investment that includes a $460 million Series D round and $82 million in additional funds earlier this year. The round was led by Carbon Removal Partners, Singapore-based investment firm Temasek, and the Qatar Investment Authority. Other investors include Tenaska, Alliance Resource Partners, PULSE – CMA CGM Energy Fund, BHP Ventures, Fifth Wall, Hitachi Ventures, Mirae Asset, At One Ventures, Agave Partners and Alumni Ventures. Important note: Funding will be paired with two grants from the U.S. Department of Energy $480 million to finance the construction of a factory in Kentucky.

independenceThe electric car subscription company said it will fully acquire the technology, assets and customer accounts of the electric car sharing company Mobility by electric vehicles. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Invisics, a UK-based hologram company that builds in-car technology that displays navigation, safety alerts and other data on the inside of the windshield, has closed a $100 million Series C round. The company announced the first tranche of its $50 million round in March, which included Hyundai Mobis, with participation from InMotion Ventures (the investment arm of Jaguar Land Rover) and Stellantis. This latter group included new investors such as M&G Investments.

LandInc., the Cleveland-based electric motorcycle manufacturer, has just lifted its A-series ride with Ancora driving. The company did not disclose the amount of the fund but said it had raised a total of $7 million so far.

Lydian, a Massachusetts-based startup aimed at producing sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), has raised $12 million in seed funding from Congruent Ventures and Galvanize Climate Solutions. The startup will use the funds to build a pilot plant capable of producing more than 5,000 gallons of SAF annually.

Notable Readings and Other Stories

Driver Assist Assistant

RememberThe Chinese high-performance electric vehicle brand owned by Geely has added Mobileye’s SuperVision ADAS system to 110,000 of its vehicles through an over-the-air update. New features include automated point-to-point highway navigation, lane change, automated ramp start/exit assistance, and intelligent traffic safety functions in “Specific Operational Design Areas.”

Self-driving vehicles

Sea trip I made a lot of news this week. Initially, protesters gathered outside the company’s San Francisco headquarters after reports that one of its robotaxis had blocked an ambulance carrying a patient who later died. Despite the San Francisco Fire Department’s claims of a Cruise robot taxi blocking the ambulance, video footage says otherwise.

A few days later, C.E.O Kyle Vogt He said during an interview at the Goldman Sachs Tech Conference that the company is close to receiving approval from federal regulators to mass produce robotaxis without a steering wheel or pedals. It’s worth noting that Vogt and Cruise have remained consistent (and vocal) about the benefits of self-driving cars for reducing crashes. This position did not convert opponents. In any case, the anti-taxi group in San Francisco seems more motivated than ever.

Deeproute.aiShenzhen-based startup Robotaxi, backed by Alibaba, plans to open an operations center in Germany in 2024.

TuSimple It finally filed its fourth-quarter and full-year 2022 earnings report. Yes, you read correctly. The company was on the verge of being kicked off the stock market for being late, but was granted a temporary reprieve in May. TuSimple still needs to file its first-quarter and second-quarter 2023 reports before the September 30 deadline.

tl;dr: TuSimple continues to shift away from the US and towards Asia. The company noted that it closed its operations in the United States and doubled its operations in the Asia-Pacific region. Financially, TuSimple had revenue of $1.9 million in the fourth quarter and $9.4 million for all of 2022. The company’s net loss for the fourth quarter amounted to $138 million, and in fiscal year 2022 it amounted to $472 million. TuSimple ended 2022 with $615.4 million in cash and cash equivalents.

The company said it will focus on testing, research and development while trying to control its revenue-losing operations. TuSimple does not expect to generate significant revenue in 2023, “given the change in U.S. fleet operations.”

Electric vehicles, batteries and charging

Honda It has confirmed that it will use a Tesla EV charging port starting in 2025.

Lotus It has unveiled its flagship all-electric, ultra-fast car, the Emeya.

Munich The IAA Mobility 2023 event highlighted how far Chinese electric vehicle makers have come. Check out our roundup of European and Chinese cars making their debut.

Tesla The yet-to-be-released Cybertruck has been spotted in a regular San Francisco parking garage and new photos of the interior have been shared.

Technology inside the car

BMW I realized what everyone already has – charging for heated seats is not cool.

Google Quarterly Android updates include support for Zoom and Webex in cars.

the Pole Star 4 It will be launched in China with its own smartphone.

the people

Flexport Founder Ryan Petersen He returns to the CEO position after his handpicked successor – Amazon’s former consumer chief Dave Clark – He was fired. The sudden ouster was not the end of the drama. Petersen took to social media to announce that the company would be canceling dozens of hiring offers and taking other measures to control costs. Petersen and the board agreed with Clark’s big vision for growth, but that confidence only lasted about a year.

Woven by Toyota, the automaker’s mobility technology business, is reshuffling its executive floors. James Kovner will be replaced by Hajime Komabe as CEO. Kovner will now become a “senior associate” at Toyota, where he will manage the professional development of software engineers.

Get your ticket to TC Disrupt 2023

We’re covering all things sustainable mobility at TechCrunch Disrupt 2023, taking place in San Francisco from September 19-21. Last minute passes are still available. Save 15% with code STATION. Register now!



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