Boston-based Autonomous Vehicle Developer Optimus Ride gets Series A Funding
Leading Venture Capitalists Invest in MIT Spinoff’s Vision and Differentiated Approach to Self-Driving Technology; Funds Will Scale Vehicle Fleet and Increase Employee Headcount
BOSTON, Nov. 2, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Today, Optimus Ride, a MIT spinoff company developing self-driving technology, announced it has closed an $18 million Series A funding led by Greycroft Partners with participation from Emerson Collective, Fraser McCombs Capital and renowned venture capitalist and current director of MIT Media Lab, Joi Ito. Optimus Ride has raised a total of $23.25 million through two rounds of financing. The company will immediately use the capital to scale its current vehicle fleet and make strategic hires as well as continue its efforts to educate the market of the potential of fully autonomous driving technology.
A recent study from Boston Consulting Group and the World Economic Forum, “Making Autonomous Vehicles a Reality: Lessons from Boston and Beyond,” predicts that driverless cars could reduce air pollution, significantly lessen notorious city traffic and free up much needed additional parking space. With ties to MIT and a founding team with a collective three decades of experience in robotics, on-demand transportation and electric vehicles, Optimus Ride is uniquely positioned to help usher in the next era of transportation in the City of Boston and beyond.
“Autonomy is currently revolutionizing the transportation industry.” said John Elton, Partner at Greycroft. “The changes will impact not only transportation users’ free time, but the broader world with a safer, more environmentally friendly and inclusive transportation system. Greycroft is thrilled to partner with the Optimus Ride team. They are a diverse group that combines the top technical talent in computer vision and machine learning with expertise in urban design.”
Autonomous Vehicle Testing on Public Roads
Earlier this year, Optimus Ride received approval from MassDOT to test highly automated vehicles in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In addition, the company signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with MassDOT along with the City of Boston to enable testing of self-driving vehicles on roads and public property in the City of Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, beginning in Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park.
“I have known the Optimus Ride team since the very beginning of their journey as entrepreneurs, and it’s been rewarding to serve as a mentor to them up to this point,” said Joi Ito. “They embody the type of innovation truly interdisciplinary teams can achieve, and I’m excited to continue to support their success in the years ahead.”
“My colleagues and I are extremely proud of what we have accomplished to date, and recognize that the industry is just scratching the surface of the powerful long-term benefits of driverless vehicles,” said Ryan Chin, CEO, Optimus Ride. “Having the financial backing and guidance of Greycroft and our other venture partners will help us to harness our passion and execute our ultimate vision even more rapidly.”
About Optimus Ride
The unique makeup of the Optimus Ride team includes over 30 years of shared experience on the cutting edge of interdisciplinary research in self-driving technologies, electric vehicles, mobility-on-demand and other transportation systems. The team also has a decade of industrial and entrepreneurial experience spanning manufacturing robots, medical robots, shared vehicle fleet management and urban design. Building on this significant knowledge, the company will continue to leverage the latest advances in complex sensor fusion, mapping, computer vision and machine learning to ultimately deploy a new form of transportation system that enables safe, sustainable and equitable mobility access.
Greycroft Partners is a leading venture capital firm focused on investments in the Internet and mobile markets. With offices in the two media capitals of the world – New York and Los Angeles – Greycroft is uniquely positioned to serve entrepreneurs who have chosen us as their partners. Greycroft leverages an extensive network of media and technology industry connections to help entrepreneurs gain visibility, build strategic relationships, bring their products to market, and build successful businesses. Greycroft manages in excess of $1 billion and has made over 150 investments since inception in leading companies including Acorns, App Annie, Boxed, Braintree, Buddy Media, Everything But The House, Extreme Reach, Huffington Post, Icertis, JW Player, Maker Studios, Plated, Scopely, Shipt, TheRealReal, Thrive Market, Trunk Club, Venmo, WideOrbit, and Yeakha. For more information please visit https://www.greycroft.com.
SOURCE Optimus Ride
Web Site: http://optimusride.com