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LA Auto Show This was the week and although it no longer has the cachet of pre-COVID days, some notable news came out of the event. TechCrunch reporter Harry Weber was on the scene helping me cover the story. One of the biggest announcements had nothing to do with the vehicle reveal. no, it was Amazon Announcing that it is now going to sell cars online, starting with Hyundai,
Other coverage included the debut of the Lucid Gravity SUV and a handy roundup covering the tech, EVs, and other fun stuff that caught our attention.
Okay, let’s dive in!
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way upFrench refurbished e-bike marketplace has raised $30 million at an inflated valuation. Normally this news would go in our deals section below, but I wanted to consider what it means.
Upway is present in several countries in Europe and has recently expanded to the US. It takes used e-bikes from reputed and desirable brands, repairs them, and ships them to customers at reasonable prices. Doing this business right requires smart supply chain and logistics management, and Upway appears to be on the right track. In today’s capital markets, it is not so easy to get new investors if you have not proven business stability.
Zooming out to the macro environment, e-bikes aren’t going anywhere. In fact, as more people buy new bikes, the used bike market grows. And with all the e-bike battery fires we’ve seen, a company offering safely refurbished e-bikes seems like a pretty good deal.
– Rebecca Bellan
deal of the week
Just a roundup this week!
divergent technologiesA Torrance, California-based startup that developed an industrial digital manufacturing system raised $230 million in a Series D funding round led by a $100 million investment from Hexagon AB. The round also included participation from new and existing institutional and family office investors.
gravityEV infrastructure startup raises $13 million in seed round led by GV (Google Ventures).
GM Reuters reported that Tesla acquired key gigacasting supplier Tooling & Equipment International.
indriveThe “bid-based” ride-hailing platform popular in Latin America and Asia launched a venture and mergers and acquisitions division called New Ventures to invest up to $100 million in startups in emerging markets over the next few years. The $100 million will not come from any fund at all. “Starting in 2024, we plan to invest the money over the next few years by taking an annual allocation of investment capital from our balance sheet,” Andries Smit, vice president of New Ventures, told TechCrunch.
loopThe Tokyo-based shared e-scooter startup raised $24 million to expand its charging ports to 10,000 by 2025, from about 4,900 today.
WanderingAn electric commercial fleet company based in San Francisco raised $25 million in equity project financing from Greenbacker Capital Management.
shekel mobility, a B2B auto dealer marketplace in Africa, raised over $7 million in funding, which included $3.2 million in equity and over $4 million in debt. Ventures Platform co-led the round with MaC Venture Capital. Other investors include Y Combinator, Rebel Fund, Unpopular Ventures, Maiora Capital, PageOne Lab Inc., Phoenix Investment Club, Heirloom VC, Pioneer Ventures, and other angel investors. Meanwhile, Zvance, VFD Microfinance Bank, Zenith Bank and Fluna, among others, provided the loan component.
PrincipleA New York-based EV financing startup raised $10 million in a Series A funding round led by Nika Partners. Assurant Ventures and Giant Ventures also participated.
Notable readings and other news
texas Poised to become the next hub and potential regulatory battlefield for autonomous vehicles. TechCrunch reporter Rebecca Bellan writes that AVs are not regulated in the state, but as robotaxis incidents increase, cities could turn to a weapon that California doesn’t have.
Meanwhile, GM has taken control of its troubled AV subsidiary Cruise and appointed one of its own executives to lead the self-driving car company’s legal and policy, communications and finance teams.
a number of cruise Employees have told TechCrunch that morale is at a new low due to a decision by parent company GM to suspend its employee share-sale program. But wait! Co-Founder and CEO of Saturday Cruises kyle vogt Sent an email to employees (seen by TechCrunch) apologizing to employees, taking responsibility and reversing its stance on the share sale. He started with:
“I know it was extremely difficult to hear the news about changes to our RLO program, and there are many unanswered questions. We’ve left you with the worries about your coworkers, your career, and your personal finances. This is the last thing I wish for anyone, and I’m really sorry.
Vogt further said the company is working on a way to create a new tender offering that would reduce potential tax obligations.
He later wrote that “As CEO, I take responsibility for Cruise’s position today. There is no excuse, and there is no doubt about what happened.”
It was a slow earnings week for transportation. Still, there were some notable things.
It still doesn’t feel good Bird, which closed the quarter after delisting from the stock exchange with a loss of $19.8 million. Bird’s going concern warning is still in effect – the company has faced recurring losses and negative cash flow since its inception and is projected to lose $1.6 billion through September 30, 2023.
Despite the spin purchase, revenue remains light at $54.3 million (down from $72.8 million in Q3 2022). Now we are approaching winter, when cash flow will drop even more. Bird ended the quarter with $10.2 million in cash and cash equivalents, which by my calculations gives it another 9 months with its current cash burn. The company says it will not be able to meet its obligations in the next 12 months.
gogoro, too, is still feeling its last sting of currency conversion. Its revenue for the quarter was $91.8 million, down 10.2% year-over-year. However, battery swapping service revenue of $33.6 million is up 10.4% year-over-year. The battery swapping giant closed the third quarter with a net loss of $3.1 million, down from net income of $56.4 million in the same quarter last year. On an adjusted basis, Gogoro reported EBITDA of $13.1 million, up from $9.2 million in Q3 2022.
fiskar The third quarter was also troublesome, with losses higher than expected.
Electric vehicles, charging and batteries
arrivalThe once-hyped EV startup that went public through a merger with a blank check company has secured a $50 million bridge loan — one that will keep it afloat long enough to explore a potential sale.
cadillac Introduced the Optic, an entry-level compact crossover EV that will sit below the Lyriq
of candela The electric hydrofoiling ferry, now in production, made its first “flight” in Stockholm.
exxon Wants to drill enough lithium from Arkansas to power 1 million EVs per year.
GM absorbed brightdropA wholly owned commercial EV subsidiary, a change that included ousting its CEO. Does the same fate await Cruise, another of its subsidiaries?
mercedes There are plans to build about 30 fast-charging hubs at Buc-ee’s locations across the South. TC+ reporter Tim De Chant explores why supersized convenience stores could be key to unlocking EV fast charging.
redwood material Cathode material and anode copper foil will be supplied to Toyota for battery cells produced at the automaker’s $13.9 billion factory in North Carolina, production of which is scheduled to begin in 2025.
Tesla Cybertruck backtracks on its previous threat to sue resellers. Additionally, an upgraded Tesla CyberSquad for kids is back on sale after a safety recall.
future of flight
Archer Aviation Signed a memorandum of understanding with Air Chateau, a private aviation operator in the UAE, for the planned purchase of 100 Midnight eVTOLs from Archer at a value of approximately $500 million.
Joby Aviation And Volocopter gave the public a candid glimpse of what the future of aviation could look like this weekend, with both companies performing brief demonstration flights of their electric aircraft in New York City.
zipline achieved an important milestone in its US operations. The Federal Aviation Administration approved Zipline to fly its autonomous drones without a line of sight observers. Shortly after the FAA lifted this requirement, Zipline flew its Platform 1 aircraft in the Salt Lake City area without the previously required visual observers. According to the company, Zipline is now flying without this requirement in Utah and will soon expand that approach to its US operations.
technology in car
feds Want speed reduction technology in every new car. Are American drivers ready?
A software update failed Rivian Infotainment system. About 3% of its vehicles were affected by the problem, which is being addressed with an over-the-air software update.
uber New features are being introduced to address the issues of inappropriate idling that ride-hail and delivery drivers often face.