Record funding for autotech startups

Autotech startups are on a record pace for funding in 2016, according to a report issued on Friday before a pair of deals in the sector emerged in the Bay Area late last week.


During the first half of the year, investors backed the autotech sector to the tune of $450 million across 36 deals, according to CB Insights.

That is just shy of 2015′s $478 million full-year figure, CB Insights said, and should overtake the record set in 2013, which saw $572 million raised on 27 deals, the bulk of which was attributable back then to a $400 million financing by Mobileye.

Menlo Park-based Zoox has the largest deal this year so far, with $200 million in funding raised at the end of June for its fully autonomous vehicles from investors such as DFJ and Lux Capital.

The CB Insights report comes on the heels of Ford participating in a $6.6 million round on Friday for StartX alumnus Civil Maps, which offers 3-D maps for drivers. One day prior, FlightCar, an airport-centered car-sharing startup, shut down and sold its platform to Mercedes-Benz. The startup had raised $40 million to date since emerging from Y Combinator in the spring of 2013; investors included First Round Capital, GGV Capital, General Catalyst and Great Oaks Venture Capital.

The uptick in interest in the autotech sector comes even as high-profile companies like Tesla run into issues with safety regulations surrounding self-driving technology. The Securities and Exchange Commission is currently investigating whether Tesla violated securities regulations by failing to properly disclose information about a fatal crash that occurred May 7 and involved a 40-year-old Florida man, Joshua Brown, who was driving a Tesla Model S with the Autopilot feature engaged. It was the first known fatality in a self-driving Tesla.