Venture investing in autonomous vehicles continues to heat up, and as startups mature expect late stage investing to increase, said an Emerging Tech Research Report on Mobility released by Pitchbook this week.
The report also described trends in the logistics market, with legacy companies demonstrating resistance to change and fierce competition coming from pioneers (Uber Freight, Convoy).
Here are a few highlights from the report:
“VC investors prefer full-stack solutions”
A significant portion of venture capital investing in the space has gone towards startups focusing on developing full-stack autonomous solutions, “instead of companies focusing on one aspect of autonomy, such as visualization or localization.”
“Late stage investing in AV to gain market share”
Most of the venture-backed AV startups have landed early stage investments. As these companies mature, later stage deals are becoming more common. The authors cite self-driving trucking company TuSimple’s recent $95 million in Series D venture funding. “Nevertheless,” the report states, “the segment remains dominated by early-stage deals such as the $500 million Series B round raised by Zoox.”
“Scale key to digital brokerages; competition is large and established”
Uber Freight’s recent move into Europe would likely get a nod of approval from the Pitchbook report authors, who note that “platforms that can aggressively expand geographic coverage over the next few years have the potential to become truly dominant.”
That said, competition is fierce. Pioneers like Waymo and TuSimple are well-funded, and established companies like C.H. Robinson and Echo Global Logistics have the deep pockets to edge out newcomers.
Resistance to change is a huge obstacle. “While this customer base stands to benefit tremendously from streamlining its supply chain,” the report authors state, “it is seeing pressure from limited labor availability impacting margins as well as uncertainty around the future of global trade, limiting the amount of capital these companies can deploy towards innovative technologies.
“Moreover, this industry has historically favored established relationship-driven contracts and will likely be resistant to change, which could slow progress.
Here is a list of the top investors in mobility by deal count: