|Record venture capital cash floods into car technology|
JULY 12, 2017 by: Leslie Hook in San Francisco A new wave of venture capital focused on the car technology sector is sweeping across Silicon Valley, with $220m in new funding announced this week by two separate groups, the Toyota Research Institute and AutoTech Ventures. The latest investment comes after funding of car technology-related start-ups reached an all-time high of $1.6bn during the first half of this year, according to data from CB Insights. The advent of autonomous vehicles has fuelled a rush by carmakers and venture firms to invest in transportation technologies. With a growing number of specialised venture funds dedicating themselves to car technology — a field that spans everything from machine learning and mapping, to logistics and parking services — their approaches are starting to diverge. One camp of investors is more focused on transportation services viable in the near-term, while the other is betting on a utopian vision of fully self-driving vehicles. AutoTech, a new Silicon Valley venture firm, is in the first camp and announced the close of its first fund of $120m on Wednesday. Co-founders Alexei Andreev and Quin Garcia said they are looking for start-ups that can help alleviate today’s transportation problems, such as parking, leasing, insurance or car repair. “We have to think about how to make money in the next 10 years, a
nd in our view, full Level Five autonomous vehicles and flying cars is more than that 10-year horizon,” Mr Garcia said, referring to cars that can completely drive themselves. “We don’t want to invest in a company whose success is predicated on full adoption of autonomous.” “We probabl
y gravitate more toward the realist end of the spectrum, rather than the mega-moon shot end of the s
pectrum,” he added.