Chinese robotaxi unicorn WeRide bags over $600M in 5 months
It’s hard to keep up with the fundraising spree in China’s autonomous driving industry these days. Guangzhou- and California-based robotaxi company WeRide, which counts Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance as one of its strategic investors, has raised over $600 million in just under five months from its Series B and C financing rounds.
The four-year-old upstart said in May that its valuation leaped to $3.3 billion in its Series C fundraising. WeRide has kept details of the backing to itself until today when it disclosed the investment was a lofty sum of $310 million from Alliance Ventures, a strategic venture capital fund operated by Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, China Structural Reform Fund, a Chinese state-owned private equity fund, and Pro Capital, which manages China’s CDB Equipment Manufacturing Funds.
It’s unclear how much WeRide has raised since its inception as some of its investments were undisclosed. It pulled in “tens of millions of dollars” from a Series A round.
This is the second time Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi has shelled out money for WeRide following its initial strategic investment back in 2018. The follow-on funding came as the two companies strengthen ties to develop Level 4 driving vehicles for the Chinese market. Electric cars from the Dongfeng-Nissan joint venture, automated by WeRide software, have been providing robotaxi service in Guangzhou for 18 months. WeRide uses Nissan vehicles in California for research and development.
Ashwani Gupta, COO of Nissan, gave an assuring statement about the partnership: “As China stands at the forefront of helping define the future of mobility, we are delighted to partner with WeRide to bring even more innovative technologies and services to enrich people’s lives in China.”
WeRide similarly sounded rosy about the alliance with Nissan. “Throughout the past three years, they have been playing a critical role in supporting WeRide’s autonomous driving platform, hence, enabling us to establish a leading fleet of robotaxis,” said Tony Han, WeRide founder and CEO .
“With the continued support of Nissan, we will accelerate the commercial use of our driverless robotaxis in China.”