Self-driving tech startup Nuro raises $600M to deliver groceries and other items from the street using autonomous robotic vehicles
Nuro, a developer of autonomous driving technology backed by two former Google engineers, has raised an additional $600 million in Series D funding round to speed up efforts to commercialize its robotic delivery services. The announcement comes two years after the robotic delivery upstart raised close to $1 billion from SoftBank for its driverless deliveries.
Nuro said it will use the new capital infusion to support the development and deployment of Nuro’s autonomous delivery service in communities across the country. The latest round was led by Tiger Global Management with participation from Baillie Gifford, Fidelity Management & Research Company, LLC, Gaorong Capital, Google, Kroger, SoftBank Vision Fund 1.
Co-founded in 2016 by two former engineers of Google’s self-driving car project, Dave Ferguson and Jiajun Zhu, Nuro aims to accelerate the benefits of robotics for everyday life. Nuro’s team is comprised of entrepreneurs and engineers, designers, and scientists who believe the advancements they are making in robotics and machine learning today will dramatically improve the way they live tomorrow.
In April, Nuro inked a partnership with Domino’s Pizza to offer some of its Houston customers the option to choose to have their pizza delivered by the Nuro R-2 robot, a completely autonomous on-road vehicle. Instead of a delivery driver knocking at your door with your order, the robot will drive the order to the address and customers will receive a pin to retrieve their order when it has arrived. Nuro has also partnered with other companies including Chipotle. In 2018, we covered Nuro after the startup partnered with Kroger for same-day grocery delivery.
“Customers who are selected will receive text alerts, which will update them on R2’s location and provide them with a unique PIN to retrieve their order. Customers may also track the vehicle via GPS on their order confirmation page. Once R2 arrives, customers will be prompted to enter their PIN on the bot’s touchscreen. R2’s doors will then gently open upward, revealing the customer’s hot Domino’s order,” Domino’s explained.
Nuro is a robotics company that combines software and hardware expertise to design and build products that accelerate the benefits of robotics for everyday life. Nuro’s first product is a self-driving service for local goods transportation. The company is led by world-renowned experts in robotics, artificial intelligence, and computer vision. Privately held, Nuro powers partnerships with local businesses seeking new ways to cost-effectively transport goods and create new experiences for their customers.
Nuro is making local delivery fast and affordable with its self-driving service. The service uses Nuro’s custom unmanned road vehicle to run errands of all kinds – from picking up groceries to delivering dinner. Nuro strives to create a world where everything can be delivered affordably and on-demand.
“We’ve spent the last two and a half years building an amazing team, launching our first unmanned service, working with incredible partners, and creating technology to fundamentally improve our daily lives,” said Nuro co-founder, Dave Ferguson. “This partnership gives us the opportunity to take the next step in realizing our vision for local commerce and the broad application of our technology.”
Commenting on the latest funding, Dave Ferguson, Nuro co-founder and president said: “We’re thrilled to have the backing of these prominent investors and world-class companies, and honored that they support our vision of improving communities and revitalizing local commerce. We believe this investment will allow us to accelerate our commercialization strategy and better everyday life with Nuro’s technology.”
“The arrival of ubiquitous on-demand eCommerce is changing the way we access goods. Demand for local deliveries is exploding. Nuro is the bridge to an era of sustainable, low-cost, autonomous local delivery,” said Griffin Schroeder, Partner at Tiger Global.
The recently closed series D round will enable Nuro to continue its commercialization of zero-occupant autonomous delivery vehicles. Nuro’s fundamental rethinking of autonomous vehicles and the opportunity to transform local commerce has garnered attention from prominent commercial partners in a variety of industries. This latest funding round, which includes leading financial and strategic investors, will assist Nuro in addressing long-standing pain points and shifting consumer trends accelerated by COVID-19.
“Kroger launched its partnership with Nuro in 2018 to explore grocery delivery through autonomous vehicles,” said Yael Cosset, Senior Vice President & Chief Information Officer for Kroger. “Since then, Kroger and Nuro completed thousands of deliveries to our customers — driving innovation that supports our expanding seamless ecosystem by creating consistent and rewarding customer experiences with scalable, sustainable, and profitable solutions.”
Below is a video of Nuro in action.
Below is another video