Peugot and nuTonomy partner. Intel opens autonomous garage. Samsung's autonomous plans.
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Hi there,

The ever-vigilant CBI Cruncher has unearthed another SEC filing for a stealthy company, with Tesla's CTO JB Straubel and Andrew Stevenson of Special Projects listed as officers for a corporation named Redwood Materials (based in Redwood City, CA).

The document shows that Redwood has $2M in equity from a single undisclosed investor, dated April 17, 2017. We also uncovered a sparse website linked to the company, describing the initiative as targeting the entire materials lifecycle, leveraging “advanced technology and process development for materials recycling, remanufacturing, and reuse.”

Neither the filing nor Redwood's website show any explicit link to Tesla, but upon further sleuthing we found that Stevenson highlighted “re-thinking the materials supply chain” as a target innovation area for Tesla during a March 2017 keynote.

Regardless of whether Redwood is directly linked to Tesla or not, materials efficiencies and innovation will be vital as the EV maker looks to dramatically ramp its production volume. (See also the ongoing drama at the company's Grohmann Engineering automated production unit.)

CTO JB Straubel has spoken previously about the superior economics of battery recycling over vehicle-to-grid storage battery reuse concepts that Nissan, Daimler, and others have explored. If Tesla’s sales growth matches its expectations, the volume of used batteries will swell in tandem over the coming decade.

Uprounds and downrounds

Fundraising announcements continue to stream from the top cohort of ride-hailing and transportation network companies. We've used our valuation data to explore how the quarterly valuation histories of top players have evolved over time:

Didi and Lyft's jumps are obviously juxtaposed against Ola's recent downround, though Ola's valuation has ticked back up from $3B to $3.5B after raising an additional $104M. Uber has not raised any significant rounds of late, but we'll be watching closely to gauge the impact of the company's recent cultural issues, lawsuits, and executive departures.

Not pictured but worth noting is Go-Jek, whose valuation hit $3B this week (although fully $1.2B of that post-money figure was from its new financing).

Looking at top names in delivery and logistics shows the recent turbulence in the field, with Postmates' flat Series E and a number of downrounds and recapitalizations as investors and startups alike grapple with the economics of the space.

Have a great rest of the week.


Tesla CTO & special projects chief linked to new materials initiative

On-demand investment activity continues to decline in Q1'17, even amongst several large dealsSee the info.
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The rise and fall of on-demand startup valuations over time

China-based Didi Chuxing raised $5.5B in a massive funding round that raised its valuation to $50B. Check out the data.
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This Week in Auto Tech
A curated mix of recent articles on auto tech financings, exits, announcements, hirings, partnerships & perspectives.

Deals & Fundraising
Didi's round. The Chinese ride-hailing giant has raised more than $5.5B, valuing the company around $50B. The funds will go towards ex-China expansion and self-driving research.

Ola gets $104M follow-on. The company's new round values the company at close to $3.5B.
The Economic Times

Gett looks to raise $700M. Fresh from its $200M acquisition of Juno, the VW-backed company is looking for new financing.

Go-Jek raises $1.2B. Tencent led the round to Uber and Grab's Indonesian rival.

Truck Alliance raises $156M. Baidu Capital led the round to the trucking logistics platform know as Huochebang.

Redwood Materials raises $2M. The stealthy company lists Tesla's CTO and special projects head as executive officers.
CB Insights

Swiftly raises $2.5M. The data platform for public transit and mobility services has been backed by Ford Smart Mobility and Samsung NEXT.
More Google vets in auto tech. Google mapping veterans have founded DeepMap, an Accel- and a16z-backed self-driving mapping company that has raised $32M to date.

nuTonomy partners with PSA. The Massachusetts-based self-driving startup will outfit Peugeot SUVs.

Zoox hires ex-Ferrari exec. Corrado Lanzone, a two-decade veteran of Ferrari, will join the robotaxi startup as VP of manufacturing operations.

Apple's self-driving mule. The test vehicle is the popular Lexus RX450h, fitted with a Velodyne LiDAR unit.

Intel's new autonomous garage. The company's new autonomous driving facility has opened in Silicon Valley, one of four globally.

Delphi to focus on electronics. The supplier is spinning off its engine components unit to focus on advanced electronics for self-driving cars.

AAA launches car-sharing startup. Gig, out of A3 Ventures, resembles new smart bike models in that cars can be dropped off at any public space (as opposed to designated locations).

Tesla's Klaus Grohmann ousted. The Grohmann Engineering founder departed following the dropping of the firm's non-Tesla clients.

Tesla Model Y, Network details revealed. The company's Q1 earnings discussion covered the upcoming Tesla Semi and Model Y crossover (the latter will be built on a distinct platform from the Model 3 sedan). Tesla's ride-sharing Network will be released along with the company's "Full Self-Driving" update.
The Verge (Model Y) / Electrek (Network)

Bridj shuts down. The shuttle network startup is ceasing operations after an OEM suitor (said to be Toyota) ended investment talks.
The Boston Globe

Samsung to test self-driving cars. The South Korean land ministry has approved Samsung's modified Hyundai test vehicles.
Korea Herald

Tech companies petition Cali DMV. Apple, Tesla, and other self-driving hopefuls are seeking looser regulations for California testing.

Proterra explores self-driving buses. The electric bus startup is also looking into autonomous driving tech.
Business Insider

Waymo makes case against Uber. Waymo lawyers argue that Uber and Anthony Levandowski conspired to steal trade secrets, but the case's judge said that Waymo has yet to prove Uber's connection to the theft.

Tony Fadell joins Magna advisory committee. The iPod and Nest icon will join an expert team to help the contract manufacturer and auto supplier.
Business Insider

Articles & Perspectives
Uber interviews for COO. Prospects face a number of challenges at the embattled company.

Nauto profile. The Toyota- and BMW-backed company's aftermarket monitoring device has been retrofitted for dozens of commercial fleets.

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