Mobileye cruises into the public market and inside the Argo AI collapse • TechCrunch
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Welcome back to Terminal, your central hub for all past, present and future means of transporting people and packages from Point A to Point B.
Welp, that was a week! My head is still spinning here about what happened with Mobileye to the audience, Argo shut down and Elon Musk took over Twitter. Yes, there is a turning angle to Twitter that goes beyond the less-than-happy reaction from Tesla shareholders. (GM paused Twitter Paid Adsafter Musk’s takeover.)
Let’s just jump in, shall we?
The California State Legislature newly Passed AB 371, the so-called “Kill Bikeshare Bill,” which places severe insurance requirements on shared small mobility businesses beyond what is required of private car owners or rental car companies. It makes companies responsible for the behavior of anyone who uses their services, and is likely to lead to many companies pulling out.
City Bike he have “Bike Angel” program Motivates people (with money!) to rebalance e-bike inventories at docking stations across New York City.
San Francisco he is Shared e-scooters restriction From parking in certain tourist areas, specifically a large stretch of Embarcadero and a popular street at Fisherman’s Wharf. The move comes as the SFMTA is under pressure to issue more tough curbside riding enforcement.
Tesla Cyberquad for kidsa $1,900 small vehicle made by Radio Flyer, is is called due to safety concerns. About 5,000 units were sold.
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Inside Close Argo AI
The sudden shutdown From the autonomous vehicle company Argo AI he received like a bucket of ice water thrown over his head. Certainly, the autonomous car industry is still a leading technology years, even decades, from becoming a product that most consumers use daily. Profits, hell even revenue, distant targets.
However, Argo’s demise was unexpected, in large part because it has wealthy backers such as Ford and VW ($2 billion in cash and $1.6 billion in acquisition value for Volkswagen’s Autonomous Intelligent Driving), and several partners Notables with active pilot programs, large workforce of top talent and presence in multiple cities.
The work culture was not toxic, judging by the accounts of several insiders at different levels of the startup. It has been a widely respected company and is considered one of the few companies with the talent, support and technology to start the commercialization of utility vehicles.
So why did Argo die? Did its founders or supporters make some fatal flaws along the way? Or is it a larger systemic problem with the technology itself?
As I learn more about this (and continue to research), it appears to be a combination of several factors, including Ford and VW’s decision to prioritize near-term profits obtained from advanced derivative assistance systems over the expense of still-in-the-making technology that wasn’t Neither company has actually come up with a business model for it. (or at least one guaranteed to be profitable)
It looks like Argo has been able to find some new supporters (Ford said in its earnings statement that Argo couldn’t find new outside investment.) But finding capital wasn’t the only problem. Terms for any new investor must be agreed upon by Ford and VW. I have received mixed accounts of the validity of that relationship.
Chris Urmson, Co-Founder and CEO of Aurora, has provided The message of the audio-visual vehicle industry is not doomed to fail. “This is not an indication that the future with self-driving technology is not real or imminent. In fact, it is quite the opposite,” he wrote, referring to Waymo’s expansion of the fleet of automated taxis to Los Angeles and Cruise to charge driverless rides in San Francisco. Urmson also provided an update on Aurora’s focus on self-driving trucks.
I don’t think the AV industry is dead. I see – and for two years now – a consolidation, a tightening of capital markets and a shift in priorities from the automakers, who were once big fans and supporters of vehicles. This makes the tough coarse even more rugged. And right now, that’s shutting down a lot of startups.
It would be a bit simplistic to say “it’s the profits, stupid”. But that’s not entirely wrong either.
What do you think dear reader?
Deal of the week
On the day the news of Argo AI fell, Mobileye It officially debuted. The success of the initial public offering – the third largest this year – was seen by many as confirmation of Ford and Volkswagen’s decision to close the Argo. The ultimate idea was that advanced driver assistance systems, not AV technology, were the real future (at least in terms of revenue and profits).
Mobileye was able to price 41 million shares at $21 and above its initial range, raising $861 million. General Atlantic has agreed to buy an additional $100 million of stock in a private placement. Investors seemed ready to build up and helped the stock emerge and close nearly 30% above its IPO price.
I spoke to Mobileye founder and CEO Amnon Shashua on the big day. (Look for a longer piece this week.)
Couple of takeaways from Dr. Shashua:
“Things have changed and become more subtle. You know, five years ago we were talking about driving assistance and then robotics as sort of two separate areas. We gradually created a product line that bridges the spectrum between driving assistance and the robot hub.”
This bridge, a technology called Mobileye إشراف supervision, is the critical foundation for the company’s future. This technology is not in sight in the distant future either. The system, which includes 11 around-the-vehicle cameras that feed data into Mobileye’s system on chips, is on 50,000 vehicles in China. Shashua told me they started in China because the country is “more technologically advanced and moving faster than anyone else.”
Other deals that caught my eye…
AM . batteriesa Boston-based company that developed dry lithium-ion electrode technology, Raised $25 Million In the first round led by Anzu Partners. TDK Ventures, Foothill Ventures, Toyota Ventures, Zeon Ventures, SAIC Capital, VinFast, Doral Energy-Tech Ventures and Creative Ventures also participated.
Ascending ElementsLithium-ion battery recycling company. He received $300 million in equity and debt financingincluding $200 million in a Series C equity round led by Fifth Wall Climate and joined by SK ecoplant.
packeta joint Singaporean micro-mobility operator, Raised $93 Million In a Series B round led by Averma Capital with the participation of Sequoia Capital India, Hannah Ventures, ICT Capital, EDB Investment, AC Ventures, RTP Global and Momentum Venture Capital.
BMW iVentures He led a $20 million investment round for Fox Robotics, an Austin, Texas, independent forklift manufacturer. Japan Airlines, Translink Innovation Fund, Foothill Ventures and Zebra Technologies also participated along with Menlo Ventures, ENIAC Ventures and SignalFire.
help’s bargain to buy Wheels passedAnd with it, he promises to double annual revenues and reach profitability in the next two years. Investors were not surprised, and the company’s stock continues to weaken. If Helbiz can’t get hold of its stock, it may be fired from the Nasdaq.
ionbloxa lithium-ion cell company formerly known as Zenlabs Energy, Raised $24 Million In a Series B round with investment from Lilium, Applied Ventures, LLC and all-electric Catalus Capital to take off and land.
Do you want more deals? A full list of them was in the subscription version this week. Subscribe to Free over here.
Notable news and other stories
Andrei Karpathithe former Tesla director of AI, interviewed by Lex Friedman.
Sea tripthe self-driving subsidiary of General Motors, has opened a robotaxi service queue in Phoenix and Austin.
XPeng She said her G9 SUV became the first mass-produced Chinese commercial vehicle to pass a government-led vehicle Closed field self-driving test.
Electric cars, batteries and charging
bush Production of electric motors began in Charleston, South Carolina. Manufacturing facility and announced investment plans More than 260 million dollars To expand production there.
square wall I opened the first time North American Factory in Arlington, Texas to begin building solutions for electric vehicle charging and management in the United States.
Lift Re-launched Monthly subscription plan Lyft Pink at half its previous price. At $9.99 per month or $99 per year, the new membership offers perks like free priority pickups and a “minimum” 5% discount on Preferred, Lux, and XL flights.
Uber launches a group of New security features Driver-oriented, including freezing fake passenger account names and trying a front-facing video recorder to replace the driver’s dash cam.
Changer Vehicles Previously hired at Tesla and Faraday Future Dag Reichhorn As the chief manufacturing officer.
Jaguar Land Rover InMotion Mike Smead has been appointed as General Manager. Smead previously worked from Chery Jaguar Land Rover, a Shanghai-based joint venture between JLR and Chinese automaker Chery Automobile.
Mullen Cars Hired a former General Motors executive John Schwegman as its commercial manager.
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