Shanghai (Gasgoo)- Pony.ai, a Chinese autonomous driving startup, announced on July 11 that the company has closed a $102 million worth of funding round as the second stage of its A round financing.
The startup completed the first stage of its A round funding in January by raising $112 million. The latest capital raising made the total value of the A round up to $ 214 million, surpassing its rival Roadstar.ai, which received a total of $128 million in its A round in May, and also setting a new record among Chinese autonomous driving startups.
The latest financing was led by ClearVue Partners and Eight Roads, a proprietary investment arm of Fidelity International Limited, and involved other investors like Green Pine Capital Partners, China Merchants Capital, Redpoint China Ventures, Sequoia Capital China, Morningside Venture Capital, etc.
According to Hu Wen, COO of Pony.ai, the market valuation of the startup has increased to around $1 billion after the A round fund-raising.
Apart from team growth and support for existing and new partnerships, the newly-completed round of capital will be used for the deployment in autonomous vehicle fleet and acceleration of its entry to the commercialization of relevant technologies.
Pony.ai announced on July 2 that it had obtained a T3 license plate issued by Beijing municipal government that allowed the company to test its autonomous vehicles on public roads. According to the governmental guidance, a company should pass a series of tests and validation before it gets the license. According to the startup, it spent about ten days to submit the application and pass all tests, which included 5000-km fully autonomous driving tests in closed scenarios.
As early as February 2, Pony.ai inked a strategic agreement with GAC Group to jointly develop autonomous driving technologies and promote the vehicles’ mass production. Besides, both parties planned to conduct pilot operation of autonomous cars for ride-hailing service. On the same day, the company started China's first public-facing trial operation of autonomous fleet in Nansha, Guangdong Province.
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