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TuSimple seeking $250 million in new funding to scale self-driving trucks

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TuSimple seeking $250 million in new funding to scale self-driving trucks

TuSimple, the self-driving truck startup backed by Sina, Nvidia, UPS and Tier 1 provider Mando Corporation, is headed again into {the marketplace} looking for new capital from traders. The firm has employed funding financial institution Morgan Stanley to assist it elevate $250 million, based on a number of sources accustomed to the hassle.

Morgan Stanley just lately despatched potential traders an informational packet, seen by TechCrunch, that gives a snapshot of the corporate and an outline of its enterprise mannequin, in addition to a pitch on why the corporate is poised to succeed — all commonplace fare for corporations searching for traders.

TuSimple declined to remark.

The seek for new capital comes as TuSimple pushes to ramp up amid an more and more crowded pool of potential rivals.

TuSimple is a singular animal within the area of interest class of self-driving vans. It was based in 2015 at a time when a lot of the consideration and capital within the autonomous automobile business was targeted on passenger vehicles, and extra particularly robotaxis.

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Autonomous trucking existed in relative obscurity till high-profile engineers from Google launched Otto, a self-driving truck startup that was shortly acquired by Uber in August 2016. Startups Embark and the now defunct Starsky Robotics additionally launched in 2016. Meanwhile, TuSimple quietly scaled. In late 2017, TuSimple raised $55 million with plans to make use of these funds to scale up testing to two full truck fleets in China and the U.S. By 2018, TuSimple began testing on public roads, starting with a 120-mile freeway stretch between Tucson and Phoenix in Arizona and one other section in Shanghai.

Others have emerged previously two years, together with Ike and Kodiak Robotics. Even Waymo is pursuing self-driving vans. Waymo has talked about vans since no less than 2017, however its self-driving vans division started noticeably ramping up operations after April 2019, when it employed greater than a dozen engineers and the previous CEO of failed shopper robotics startup Anki Robotics. More just lately, Amazon-backed Aurora has stepped into vans.

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TuSimple stands out for various causes. It has managed to boost $298 million with a valuation of greater than $1 billion, placing it into unicorn standing. It has a big workforce and well-known companions like UPS. It additionally has R&D facilities and testing operations in China and the United States. TuSimple’s analysis and improvement happens in Beijing and San Diego. It has check facilities in Shanghai and Tucson, Arizona.

Its ties to, and operations in China might be seen as a profit or a possible threat as a result of present tensions with the U.S. Some of TuSimple’s earliest traders are from China, in addition to its founding crew. Sina, operator of China’s greatest microblogging web site Weibo, is one among TuSimple’s earliest traders. Composite Capital, a Hong Kong-based funding agency and former investor, can also be an investor.

In current years, the corporate has labored to diversify its investor base, bringing in established North American gamers. UPS, which is a buyer, took a minority stake in TuSimple in 2019. The firm introduced it added about $120 million to a Series D funding spherical led by Sina. The spherical included new contributors, corresponding to CDH Investments, Lavender Capital and Tier 1 provider Mando Corporation.

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TuSimple has continued to scale its operations. As of March 2020, the corporate was making about 20 autonomous journeys between Arizona and Texas every week with a fleet of greater than 40 autonomous vans. All of the vans have a human security operator behind the wheel.

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