So far, Waymo (formerly Google's self-driving car project) was a wholly owned subsidiary of Google’s parent company Alphabet. While the company had limited autonomy, CEO John Krafcik still ended up reporting to Alphabet Brass. Waymo has never released its own financial results, but it is generally believed that Alphabet absorbed billions of dollars in losses when Waymo refined its technology.
Alphabet no longer has to bear the financial burden alone. Waymo says it raised funds from outside investors for the first time. The entire round of donations is $ 2.25 billion – although part of this money comes from the parent company Alphabet. Other investors include Silver Lake, Andreessen Horowitz and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.
Waymo is following in the footsteps of two of his biggest rivals – GM & # 39; s Cruise and Ford & # 39; s Argo. Cruise raised more than $ 3 billion from Softbank, T. Rowe Price, Honda, and parent company GM in three rounds. The Honda investment has helped to build an alliance that could lead Honda to adopt Cruise's self-driving technology for its own vehicles.
Ford's self-driving company Argo signed a similar contract with Volkswagen last year. VW invested $ 1 billion to help develop Argo's self-driving technology. VW has also merged its own self-driving subsidiary in Argo. The deal was part of a broader technology sharing alliance between Ford and VW.
There are no major automakers among Waymo's new investors, but Waymo also appears to use its fundraising efforts to strengthen its relationships with existing business partners.
Last year, Waymo announced a partnership with Magna, an auto parts maker known to help customers build complete cars to help Waymo build its Michigan self-driving cars. Magna is now a Waymo investor.
Waymo has long had a relationship with AutoNation, one of the largest auto parts sellers for consumers. AutoNation has helped Waymo maintain and repair its vehicles. The companies also experimented with Waymo vehicles to sell auto parts to AutoNation customers. Now AutoNation is also a Waymo investor.