Aurora, a startup that has made headlines in the self-driving industry with an executive team drawn from Google, Uber, Tesla, is expected to reach a valuation of more than $2 billion in a new financing round.
According to sources familiar with the exercise, Sequoia Capital is anticipated to lead the funding round that will fundraise at least $500 million for Aurora.
The investment, which is yet to come to a close, is said to be developing into the largest commitment yet by the venture capital Sequoia Capital.
Sequoia is undeniably the most prestigious Silicon Valley-based VC in the booming, capital-intensive field of autonomous-driving vehicle technology in the US.
Both Sequoia and Aurora declined to comment on the matter.
Since coming out of stealth status, Aurora has made a name for itself in the autonomous-driving space.
The startup is led by Chief Executive Chris Urmson, who previously served as the CTO of Alphabet’s autonomous-driving subsidiary, Waymo.
Waymo is considered to be paving the way for its competitors in terms of autonomous driving technology.
The other co-founders of Aurora also have impressive credentials —Drew Bagnell was among the founding parties of Uber’s autonomous-driving efforts, whereas Sterling Anderson was Tesla’s head of Autopilot.
Even though the three founders joined the self-driving world late, their pedigrees have enabled them to hire second, deeper-level of talent, especially from their past employers.
As such, Aurora now boasts nearly 200 employees.
Aurora does not try to manufacture cars or sensors that are important for autonomous-driving technology to succeed.
Instead, the company is involved in designing the software on top of which automakers and other car developers can build.
Currently, the company has partnerships with automakers such as Hyundai and Volkswagen.
“We’d like to be the system. So we’re going to work on the software and we’re going to build a reference architecture that we’ll share with automotive partners,” Urmson said. “That’ll include — these are the sensors you should have, these are roughly where you should have them on the vehicle, and this is the computation you should have.”