Amazon in Advanced Talks to Acquire Autonomous Car Start-up
Amazon.com Inc. is in advanced talks to acquire Zoox Inc., a start-up that develops electric-powered autonomous vehicles, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The companies might still need several weeks to reach an agreement, but an insider to the deal told the WSJ that it could still be cancelled.
Zoox was founded in 2014 and has been working on developing hardware and software for creating autonomous cars that could be summoned via a smartphone app. A deal with Amazon could give the company the cash it needs to continue its projects.
In a statement, Zoox said that it “has been receiving interest in a strategic transaction from multiple parties and has been working with Qatalyst Partners to evaluate such interest.”
In 2016, the company quickly drew investors including Lux Capital and Primavera Capital, as the vision of autonomous taxis and delivery vehicles were trending in Silicon Valley. However, in 2018 Zoox removed its chief executive Tim Kentley-Kay after raising $500 million in a fundraising round that valued it at $3.2 billion. The company has been on a downward trend as investors’ enthusiasm in autonomous cars faded away and big-named competitors such as Waymo and GM’s Cruise gathered most of the attention.
Amazon created a team for developing driverless vehicles a few years ago, and made investments in this area, including its involvement in the autonomous technology firm Aurora Innovation Inc.’ $530 million funding round in 2019.