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Extra Crunch roundup: influencer marketing 101, spotting future unicorns, Apple AirTags teardown

With the right message, even a small startup can connect with established and emerging stars on TikTok, Instagram and YouTube who will promote your products and services — as long as your marketing team understands the influencer marketplace. Creators have a wide variety of brands and revenue channels to choose from, but marketers who understand how to court these influencers can make inroads no matter the size of their budget. Although brand partnerships are still the top source of revenue for ...
Tags: Apple, Startups, TC, Transportation, Education, California, Entrepreneurship, US, Tech, Diversity, Joe Biden, Iran, Artificial Intelligence, Rebecca, United States, Venture Capital

Ford acquires Electriphi as it prepares to woo EV fleet customers

Ford has two electric vehicles in the pipeline —  the E-Transit cargo van and F-150 Lighting Pro —aimed at commercial customers. Now, the automaker is rounding out its future EV commercial business with the acquisition of battery management and fleet monitoring software startup Electriphi. Terms of the acquisition weren’t disclosed. Ford is betting that the software developed by the three-year-old San Francisco startup will help it capture more than $1 billion in revenue just from charging by 20...
Tags: TC, Transportation, Electric Vehicle, San Francisco, Tech, Automotive, Ford, Electric Vehicles, Ghadiali, Electriphi, Muffi Ghadiali, Ford Pro

Delivery service Gopuff acquires rideOS for $115 million

On-demand goods, food and alcohol delivery service Gopuff has acquired fleet management platform rideOS for $115 million, sources familiar with the deal say. This acquisition comes just a few months after the Philadelphia-based startup announced a $1.15 billion funding round at a $8.9 billion valuation, up from $3.9 billion in October. Last fall, the company also raised $380 million and bought BevMo, a beverage retailer. Gopuff did not share its updated valuation with this new acquisition. Gopuf...
Tags: Apple, Transportation, UK, New York, Berlin, Tech, M&a, Mergers and Acquisitions, Philadelphia, Logistics, Delivery, Uber Google, GoPuff, rideOS, Justin Ho, Silicon Valley Pittsburgh

KeepTruckin raises $190 million to invest in AI products, double R&D team to 700

KeepTruckin, a hardware and software developer that helps trucking fleets manage vehicle, cargo and driver safety, has just raised $190 million in a Series E funding round, which puts the company’s valuation at $2 billion, according to CEO Shoaib Makani.  G2 Venture Partners , which just raised a $500 million fund to help modernize existing industries, participated in the round, alongside existing backers like Greenoaks Capital, Index Ventures, IVP and Scale Venture Partners, which is manage...
Tags: Startups, TC, Transportation, Tech, Artificial Intelligence, Trucking, Mckinsey, Scale Venture Partners, KeepTruckin, Makani, Recent Funding, G2 Venture Partners, Shoaib Makani G2 Venture Partners, Greenoaks Capital Index Ventures IVP, BlackRock KeepTruckin, Usher Transport

Canoo wants to connect owners to all of their vehicles — not just Canoo’s

Electric vehicle startup Canoo detailed some of the features that may be on its app on Thursday, foremost of which is a one-stop shop functionality that customers could use for their Canoo vehicles – and all their other cars, as well. This unusual approach to its branded vehicle app could potentially pay off big-time for Canoo in terms of user data and revenue via sales on services like tire replacements and insurance. If the average Canoo driver owns two other vehicles, that could mean that 50,...
Tags: Apple, Transportation, Apps, Tech, App, Automotive, Electric Vehicles, Netherlands, Oklahoma, Aquila, Treiber, Solera Holdings, Kranz, Stefan Krause, Ulrich Kranz, VDL Nedcar

Mobility startups can be equitable, accessible and profitable

Mobility should be a right, but too often it’s a privilege. Can startups provide the technology and the systems necessary to help correct this injustice? Shared micromobility, in particular, offers an opportunity for more equitable and accessible mobility within cities, but only if done intentionally. Building equity and accessibility into the business model is not always top of mind for startups looking to pay back investors and make money, and it’s a time-consuming task. Is it still possible t...
Tags: Startups, TC, Transportation, Remix, Tech, Accessibility, Equity, Revel, Butler, North Brooklyn, VIA, Micromobility, Frank Reig, Reig, Event Recap, Tiffany Chu

Canoo to build its first electric vehicle factory in Oklahoma

Canoo, the electric vehicle startup that recently became a publicly traded company through a merger with a SPAC, plans to build a factory in Oklahoma that will employ up to 2,000 workers, newly appointed CEO Tony Aquila said Thursday during the company’s investor day presentation. The factory will be located on a 400-acre site in the MidAmerica Industrial Park in Pryor, Oklahoma about 45 minutes from Tulsa. The facility, which the company describes as a “mega microfactory” will include a paint, ...
Tags: Google, TC, Transportation, Electric Vehicle, Tech, Tesla, Austin, Electric Vehicles, Netherlands, Oklahoma, North America, Hyundai, East Coast, Faraday Future, Tulsa, SPAC

Lordstown Motors reverses claims about “binding orders” for electric pickup truck

Lordstown Motors does not have binding orders from customers for its electric Endurance pickup truck — a reversal from claims made earlier this week by company executives in an effort to restore confidence in the troubled company, according to a regulatory filing released Thursday. Lordstown Motors interim CEO Angela Strand and President Rich Schmidt made a series of statements Tuesday at an Automotive Press Association event that drove up shares in the company, including that it has enough “bin...
Tags: Transportation, Electric Vehicle, Tech, Automotive, Electric Vehicles, SEC, Securities And Exchange Commission, Don, SPAC, Lordstown, U S Securities and Exchange Commission, Steve Burns, Automotive Press Association, Hindenburg, Workhorse Group, Electric Pickup Truck

China launches 3 astronauts to its new space station core module

Three Chinese astronauts have docked at China’s space station core module, named Tianhe, for the first time. The three astronauts flew to space as part of the Shenzhou 12 mission, China’s first crewed mission since 2012. They will call the core module of the Tiangong space station home until September, making it the longest crewed space mission in China’s history. The three men, Commander Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo, arrived to their final destination just over seven hours after tak...
Tags: TC, Transportation, Space, Congress, China, Tech, Bbc, United States, Mars, Spaceflight, Nie, Shenzhou, Zhurong, Ji Qiming, Shenzhou Program, Tiangong Space Station

Airspeeder wants to make electric flying racing cars a reality in 2021

While much of the eVTOL industry has its sights set on urban air taxis or cargo transportation, entrepreneur Matthew Pearson had another idea: electric flying race cars. So in 2019, he founded two companies, Alauda Aeronautics to manufacture the aircraft and Airspeeder, an international series to race them. Now, Airspeeder says it has completed the first test flights of the debut electric flying race car and is poised to host the inaugural race of its EXA series this year. That flying race car, ...
Tags: TC, Transportation, Australia, Tech, Flying Cars, Nascar, Pearson, IWC Schaffhausen, BHL, Civil Aviation Safety Authority, Matthew Pearson, Alauda, Airspeeder, Alauda Aeronautics, Saltwater Capital, Jelix Ventures Pearson

Lincoln’s first EV will arrive in 2022 with three more to follow

Lincoln Motor will launch its first all-electric vehicle in 2022 followed by three other EVs as part of the luxury brand’s goal to electrify its entire portfolio by the end of the decade. The first EV will come to market just in time for Lincoln’s 100th birthday celebration — and nearly four years since initial reports emerged that the brand was aiming to electrify its lineup. Like GM’s luxury brand Cadillac, Lincoln doesn’t have an all-electric vehicle in its lineup. But Lincoln is keen to catc...
Tags: TC, Transportation, Tech, Automotive, United States, Ford, Electric Vehicles, Shanghai, Gm, Lincoln, Lincoln Motor, Cadillac Lincoln, China Lincoln, Lincoln Aviator, Rivian, Corsair Lincoln

Experts from Ford, Toyota and Hyundai outline why automakers are pouring money into robotics

Automakers’ interest in robotics is not a new phenomenon, of course: Robots and automation have long played a role in manufacturing and are both clearly central to their push into AVs. But recently, many companies are going even deeper into the field, with plans to be involved in the wide spectrum of categories that robotics touch. At TC Sessions: Mobility 2021, we spoke to a trio of experts at three major automakers. Max Bajracharya of Toyota Research Institute, Mario Santillo of Ford and Ernes...
Tags: TC, Transportation, Tech, Ford, Toyota, Hyundai, Boston Dynamics, Hyundai Motor Group, Toyota Research Institute, Ford Toyota, Bajracharya, TRI, Ernestine Fu, Toyota AI Ventures, Max Bajracharya, Tc Sessions Mobility

Investors Clara Brenner, Quin Garcia and Rachel Holt on SPACs, micromobility and how COVID-19 shaped VC

Few people are more closely tapped into the innovations in the transportation space than investors. They’re paying close attention to what startups and tech companies are doing to develop and commercialize autonomous vehicle technology, electrification, micromobility, robotics and so much more. Clara Brenner, co-founder and managing partner of Urban Innovation Fund; Quin Garcia, the managing director of AutoTech Ventures; and Rachel Holt, co-founder and general partner of Construct Capital talke...
Tags: TC, Transportation, Events, Tech, Automotive, Garcia, Holt, Rachel Holt, AutoTech Ventures, Quin Garcia, Urban Innovation Fund, Clara Brenner, Event Recap, TC Sessions: Mobility 2021, Clara Brenner Quin Garcia, Mobility 2021

GM increases EV and AV investments to $35B through 2025

General Motors Co. has yet again upped the amount it says it will spend on electric and autonomous vehicle investments, saying Wednesday that it would spend $35 billion through 2025 – an $8 billion increase from its previous plan announced in November 2020. The company has set a target to bring 30 new EVs to the global market 30 by 2025 and to transition to all-zero-emission by 2035. With the new investment, GM said it will add new electric commercial trucks to its North American plan, as well a...
Tags: Transportation, Tech, General Motors, Cruise, Automotive, United States, Ford, Electric Vehicles, Mary Barra, Gm, Autonomous Vehicles, Honda, Pittsburgh, General Motors Co, Navistar, LG Chem

Self-driving trucks startup Kodiak Robotics snags investment, partnership from Bridgestone

Tire-making giant Bridgestone has taken a minority stake in Kodiak Robotics, the Silicon Valley-based startup developing autonomous trucks, as part of a broader partnership to test and develop smart tire technology. While the terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, Kodiak Robotics co-founder and CEO Don Burnette told TechCrunch that this is a direct financial investment. Bridgestone CTO Nizar Trigui has also joined the Kodiak board as an observer. The deal involves more than capital. The two compan...
Tags: Transportation, Asia, Tech, Automotive, Dallas, Silicon Valley, Autonomous Vehicles, Houston, Self-driving Trucks, Kodiak, BRIDGESTONE, Mountain View California, Burnette, Don Burnette, Kodiak Robotics, Bridgestone CTO Nizar Trigui

Polestar to build its first all-electric SUV in the United States

Polestar, Volvo Car Group’s standalone electric performance brand, will manufacture its first all-electric SUV in the United States. The automaker said Wednesday that the Polestar 3 will be assembled at a plant shared with Volvo Cars at a factory in Ridgeville, South Carolina. The Polestar 3 follows the all-electric Polestar 2 sedan and the hybrid grand tourer Polestar 1. Production of Polestar 3 is expected to begin globally in 2022. Polestar COO Dennis Nobelius said production in the U.S. will...
Tags: Transportation, China, Tech, Tesla, Automotive, United States, Electric Vehicles, Volvo, Geely, Volvo Cars, Volvo Car Group, Polestar, Dennis Nobelius, Ridgeville South Carolina, Zhejiang Geely Holding of China Volvo, Polestar Volvo Car Group

Volvo Cars wants to make a concept car using “fossil-free” steel

Volvo Cars wants to be climate-neutral by 2040, and it has set its sights on a major vehicle component that’s notoriously difficult to decarbonize: steel. The automaker has partnered with Swedish company SSAB, which manufactures “fossil-free” steel, for a limited amount of the material to be used in a concept car as early as 2025. A climate-neutral car is considered by many to be a moonshot goal, not least because of the challenge in decarbonizing components like steel. The steel industry, which...
Tags: TC, Transportation, Tech, Automotive, Volvo, Steel, Vattenfall, Fisker, Volvo Cars, SSAB, Volvo Car Group, Luleå Sweden, Decarbonization, LKAB SSAB, Kerstin Enochsson, Enochsson

EV battery swapping startup Ample charges up operations in Japan, NYC

EV battery swapping startup Ample has locked in two partnerships this month that will help fuel an expansion into Japan and New York City after years of working on the technology. The startup, which was founded in 2014 and came out of stealth in March, said Tuesday it has partnered with Japanese petroleum and energy company Eneos to jointly deploy and operate battery swapping infrastructure  in Japan. Over the next year, the two companies will pilot Ample’s fully automated swapping technolo...
Tags: Startups, Transportation, Japan, California, New York City, San Francisco, Tech, Toyota, Bay Area, Sally, Better Place, AMPLE, Levi Tillemann, Hassounah, Eneos, Ev Battery Swapping

Lordstown Motors execs cite binding orders to restore confidence a day after CEO, CFO resignations

Lordstown Motors has enough ‘binding orders’ from customers to fund limited production of its electric pickup truck through May 2022, executives at the company said Tuesday just a a day after an executive shakeup that included the resignation of the company’s CEO and CFO. Reaching that goal will come at a cost. The company is putting all of its resources towards the Endurance pickup truck, which means other projects including an electric recreational van has been put on hold, according to commen...
Tags: Transportation, Tech, Ford, Gm, SEC, Don, SPAC, SCHMIDT, Lordstown, LMC, Reuters GM, Lordstown Motors, Hindenburg Research, Angela Strand, Rich Schmidt

Scale AI CEO Alex Wang weighs in on software bugs and what will make AV tech good enough

Scale co-founder and CEO Alex Wang joined us at TechCrunch Sessions: Mobility 2021 this week to discuss his company’s role in the autonomous driving industry and how it’s changed in the five years since its founding. Scale helps large and small AV players establish reliable “ground truth” through data annotation and management, and along the way, the standards for what that means have shifted as the industry matures. Good data is the “good bones” of autonomous driving systems Even if two algor...
Tags: TC, Transportation, Tech, General Motors, AV, Artificial Intelligence, Automotive, Electric Vehicles, Toyota, Autonomous Vehicles, Cybernetics, Robotics, Self-driving Car, Aurora, Wang, ADAS

Chinese startup plans to launch a driverless robotaxi service in California in 2022, the robotaxi startup that operates in China and the United States, has started testing driverless vehicles on public roads in California ahead of plans to launch a commercial service there in 2022. The company said the driverless vehicle testing, which means the autonomous vehicles operate without human safety drivers behind the wheel, is happening daily on public roads in Fremont and Milpitas, California. is also testing its driverless vehicles in Guangzhou, China. said...
Tags: TC, Transportation, Asia, California, China, Tech, Cruise, Automotive, United States, Electric Vehicles, DMV, Toyota, Autonomous Vehicles, Baidu, Guangzhou, FREMONT

Founders Ben Schippers and Evette Ellis are riding the EV sales wave

EV sales are driving demand for services and startups that fulfill the new needs of drivers, charging station operators and others. Evette Ellis and Ben Schippers took to the main stage at TC Sessions: Mobility 2021 to share how their companies capitalize off the new opportunities presented by the electric transportation revolution. Ellis is the co-founder and chief workforce officer of ChargerHelp, an on-demand EV charging station repair company. She spoke about how the company approaches hirin...
Tags: Transportation, Events, Tech, Automotive, Ben Schippers, Ellis, U S Department of Labor, Evette, TezLab, Event Recap, TC Sessions: Mobility 2021, ChargerHelp, Evette Ellis, Kameale Terry, Mobility 2021, EC TechCrunch TC Mobility

Cruise secures $5B credit line to buy electric, autonomous Cruise Origin vehicles from GM

Cruise, the self-driving subsidiary of GM, has tapped a $5 billion line of credit from the automaker’s financial arm to pay for hundreds of purpose-built electric and autonomous Origin vehicles as they start to roll off the assembly line. The access to the credit provided by GM Financial will push Cruise’s “total war chest” to more than $10 billion as it prepares for commercialization, CEO Dan Ammann wrote in a blog post Tuesday. Pre-production of the Cruise Origin, which was first unveiled in J...
Tags: Transportation, Tech, Cruise, Automotive, Electric Vehicles, Gm, Autonomous Vehicles, Honda, Milford, Dan Ammann, Detroit Hamtramck, GM Financial, Detroit Hamtramck Assembly, Cruise Origin

Autonomous delivery startup Nuro moves into logistics with FedEx

Nuro, the autonomous delivery startup founded in 2016 by former Google engineers Dave Ferguson and Jiajun Zhu, is expanding into parcel logistics through a partnership with FedEx. The multi-year, multi-phased strategic partnership announced Tuesday aims to test and ultimately deploy Nuro’s second-generation R2 autonomous delivery vehicle within FedEx operations. Unlike others in the autonomous vehicle industry, Nuro has always focused its efforts on designing a low-speed electric self-driving ...
Tags: Google, Transportation, Tech, Walmart, Automotive, Electric Vehicles, Houston, Logistics, Fedex, Memphis Tennessee, Plano, Manchester New Hampshire, Dean Kamen, Frisco Texas, Dave Ferguson, Autonomous Delivery

BMW and Ford-backed Solid Power will go public via SPAC merger in $1.2B deal

Solid Power, a solid-state battery developer backed by Ford and BMW, is going public. The company said Tuesday it would head to the NASDAQ via a merger with special purpose acquisition company Decarbonization Plus Acquisition Corp III at a post-deal implied market valuation of $1.2 billion. The transaction is expected to generate around $600 million in cash, including a $165 million private investment in public equity (PIPE) transaction from investors Koch Strategic Platforms, Riverstone Energy ...
Tags: TC, Transportation, Tech, Automotive, Ford, Bmw, Volkswagen, Nasdaq, Nyse, Ford Motor Company, SPAC, BMW AG, Neuberger Berman, Mark Harris, Solid State Batteries, Microvast

G2VP VC raises $500 million to fund sustainable tech

G2 Venture Partners, a firm that spun out of Kleiner and Perkins Caufield & Byers, has raised $500 million to support entrepreneurs that aim to make existing industries more efficient, environmentally friendly and socially responsible.   With Fund II, G2 is most bullish about technologies in transportation, logistics, manufacturing, agriculture and energy, with an increasing focus on sustainability, according to a spokesperson for the firm. “The launch of our second fund expands our ability t...
Tags: TC, Transportation, Tech, Electric Vehicles, Aveva, John Doerr, Kleiner, Enphase, Doerr, Seegrid, David Mount, Proterra, J Rodgers, Shell Ventures, Perkins Caufield Byers, McKnight Foundation

Kia and Uber partner to give drivers in 20 European markets discounts to EVs

Uber and Kia Europe are teaming up to offer drivers in 20 European markets deals on buying, leasing, financing or renting Kia’s e-Niro and e-Soul, the latest move by the ride-hailing giant to achieve its emissions goals.  Uber has committed to being a zero-emission mobility platform across Europe by 2030, and hopes to get up to 30,000 Uber drivers into Kia’s BEV range by the same year. Kia is the latest in Uber’s collection of automakers offerings its drivers discounted rates on electric cars...
Tags: TC, Transportation, Uber, Europe, London, Tech, European Union, Electric Vehicles, Paris, Gm, Nissan, Hyundai, Kia, Niro, Hyundai Motor Group, Kia Europe

Jaguar Land Rover to develop a Defender-like hydrogen fuel cell EV

Jaguar Land Rover is developing a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle based on the new Defender SUV and plans to begin testing the prototype next year. The prototype program, known as Project Zeus, is part of JLR’s larger aim to only produce zero-tailpipe emissions vehicles by 20236. JLR has also made a commitment to have zero carbon emissions across its supply chain, products and operations by 2039. Project Zeus is partially funded by the UK government-backed Advanced Propulsion Center. The automaker ha...
Tags: Transportation, UK, Tech, Automotive, United States, Electric Vehicles, IEA, Jaguar, Jaguar Land Rover, Bmw, Toyota Mirai, Hydrogen Fuel Cells, International Energy Agency, China Japan, Korea Japan, InMotion Ventures

How autonomous delivery startups are navigating policy, partnerships and post-pandemic operations

We kicked off this year’s TC Sessions: Mobility with a talk featuring three leading players in the field of autonomous delivery. Gatik co-founder and chief engineer Apeksha Kumavat, Nuro head of operations Amy Jones Satrom, and Starship Technologies co-founder and CTO Ahti Heinla joined us to discuss their companies’ unique approaches to the category. The trio discussed government regulation on autonomous driving, partnerships with big corporations like Walmart and Domino’s, and the ongoing impa...
Tags: TC, Transportation, Tech, Walmart, Automotive, Autonomous Vehicles, Cto, Starship Technologies, Ahti Heinla, Nuro, Gatik, Event Recap, Mobility 2021, Apeksha Kumavat Nuro, Amy Jones Satrom, Jones Satrom

Waabi’s Raquel Urtasun explains why it was the right time to launch an AV technology startup

Raquel Urtasun, the former chief scientist at Uber ATG, is the founder and CEO of Waabi, an autonomous vehicle startup that came out of stealth mode last week. The Toronto-based company, which will focus on trucking, raised an impressive $83.5 million in a Series A round led by Khosla Ventures.  Urtasun joined Mobility 2021 to talk about her new venture, the challenges facing the self-driving vehicle industry and how her approach to AI can be used to advance the commercialization of AVs. A...
Tags: TC, Transportation, Uber, Toronto, Tech, Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Driving, Aurora, ADAS, Self Driving Vehicles, Aurora Innovation, Raquel Urtasun, Urtasun, Uber ATG, Khosla Uber, Waabi

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