A Canadian public pension plan and Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund have led a $2.25 billion funding round into Waymo, an Alphabet subsidiary considered an early leader in driverless cars, the automaker said Monday.
The Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) and the Mubadala Investment Company—worth US$307 billion and US$225 billion, respectively—along with technology investor Silver Lake Partners, led the funding for the auto business, owned by Google parent Alphabet.
Additional investors include Canadian automotive supplier Magna International, venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, and retailer AutoNation.
Waymo, one of Alphabet’s “moonshot” companies, had not had an external funding round before this. But the company has recently met a series of operational and technical milestones, Waymo said.
The driverless car, dubbed Waymo Driver, has logged more than 20 million miles across 25 cities, including on public roads in Tempe, Arizona. Its driverless ride-hailing service, the first of its kind, has served thousands of customers.
“With this injection of capital and business acumen, alongside Alphabet, we’ll deepen our investment in our people, our technology, and our operations, all in support of the deployment of the Waymo Driver around the world,” Waymo’s chief executive, John Krafcik, said in a statement.
For major institutional investors, the investment signals a growing interest in the disruptive influence of autonomous driving technology. Other money managers recently making commitments in other driverless businesses include W.K. Kellogg’s investment arm. Kellogg plugged in $27 million to a German venture capital firm that is seeding early-stage machine learning companies, like one building features around automated driving technology for Volkswagen.
Driverless technology has stirred up its share of public controversies, though. The Alphabet subsidiary has logged more than a dozen minor crashes on public roads in Arizona, including a pedestrian fatality in 2018.
“We’re deeply aligned with Waymo’s commitment to making our roads safer and look forward to working together to help advance and scale the Waymo Driver in the US and beyond,” said Silver Lake’s co-chief executive, Egon Durban, in a statement. Durban is a nominee for the car company’s operating board.