Self-driving startup Cruise raises $2.75 billion from Walmart, others

FILE PHOTO: A woman smiles in the back seat of a self-driving Chevy Bolt EV car during a media event by Cruise, GM’s autonomous car unit,  in San Francisco
FILE PHOTO: A woman smiles in the back seat of a self-driving Chevy Bolt EV car during a media event by Cruise, GM’s autonomous car unit, in San Francisco, California, U.S., Nov. 28, 2017. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage/File Photo

April 15, 2021

By Hyunjoo Jin

San Francisco (Reuters) – Self-drive automaker Cruise, backed by General Motors Co, on Thursday said it raised $2.75 billion in its latest funding round with additional investment from Walmart Inc and others, taking the startup’s valuation over $30 billion.

The announcement comes a week after peer TuSimple revealed plans for an initial public offering (IPO), at a time when self-drive technology is yet to be commercialised.

“We are focused on our path to commercialization right now but the IPOs happening in the space right now are a great indication of the strength of the industry and the opportunity self-driving presents,” a Cruise spokeswoman said in a statement to Reuters.

In January, the San Francisco-based startup said Microsoft Corp would join General Motors, Japan’s Honda Motor Co Ltd and institutional investors for a combined new equity investment of over $2 billion.

On Monday, Cruise said it planned to begin deploying a limited number of its Origin vehicles for ride-hail services in Dubai from 2023, its first overseas commercial service.

“Cruise is executing a global strategy with the right partners,” said Grayson Brulte, president at consultancy Brulte & Co. “At the end of the day it will come down to who can cut the best deals which long-term generate revenue and profits.”

Cruise’s relationship with Walmart includes a trial delivery service in Scottsdale, Arizona, announced in November.

(Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by Christopher Cushing)