China’s driverless car startup WeRide valued at $3.3 billion after raising millions in new funding
It was just over 4 months ago that we told you about WeRide, a Guangzhou, China-based smart mobility startup that develops L4 autonomous driving technologies. Back then, the company announced it raised $310 million in Series B fundraising.
Today, WeRide announced it has raised new funds valuing the company at $3.3 billion dollars, making it a member of the global unicorn club. The total amount of the funding was not disclosed. However, the Nissan-backed tech startup said it totaled “hundreds of millions” of dollars from venture capital investors including IDG Capital and Sky9 Capital. A number of other backers and existing investors participated in the round.
WeRide said it will use the funding proceeds for research and development, and large-scale commercialization of its driverless car technology. The 4-year old WeRide has been testing a robotaxi service in China since 2019. The autonomous driving race in China is heating up.
Founded in 2017 by Qing Lu, Tony Han, and Yan Li, WeRide is a mobility startup powered by AI technology and Robotics. WeRide is China’s first-ever L4 autonomous driving technology startup company to obtain strategic investment from a top-tier global automaker alliance Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi.
The company currently has over 200 employees globally, 70% of whom are R&D engineers. Its core management team all has extensive domestic and international experience in technology development and business operations in both China and the USA at companies such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Baidu, DiDi, Cisco, and others.
In late 2019, WeRide launched a robotaxi project in Guangzhou and has since expanded to allow users to hail a ride through Alibaba’s Amap app. The company says it will launch trial operations for “Mini Robobuses” on Friday.
In July 2020, WeRide became the first in China and second in the world to test fully driverless cars on open roads, after the company obtained China’s first remote-control permit for road tests of Intelligent and Connected Vehicles (ICV).