Cruise Automation – Billion Dollar Success Story Launched On AngelList
General Motors (GM) announced on (03-11-16) it would buy Cruise Automation, a San Francisco-based startup making sensors that turn regular vehicles into ones that can drive themselves.
GM hasn’t disclosed the purchase price, but the deal has been reported to be worth more than $1 billion in cash and stock.
Cruise Automation is a self-driving car company that develops an autopilot system for existing cars. Cruise has built the first highway autopilot system that installs on an existing vehicle. It uses sensors and advanced machine vision technology to keep drivers in the lane and a safe distance from the car in front. With a unique focus on eliminating the mundane parts of driving and improving safety, Cruise is leading the driverless revolution.
Cruise has grown from products for semi-autonomous conversion systems since its launch in 2013 to building “full stack” driverless technology over the last year.
Kyle Vogt is the CEO and Founder of Cruise. Previously, Kyle was a Co-Founder at Justin.tv, Socialcam (acquired by Autodesk), and Twitch (acquired by Amazon). Kyle studied computer science and electrical engineering at MIT.
The sum GM is paying makes Cruise the largest exit for a startup from Y Combinator, the well-known Silicon Valley incubator. The previous honor went to Twitch, the video game livestreaming company that Vogt also co-founded. Twitch sold to Amazon for $970 million.
Cruise had raised around $18 million in venture capital funding, from a group of institutional investors that included Spark Capital, Maven Ventures, Founder Collective and Y Combinator. More quietly, however, the company’s Series A and Series B funding each included $100,000 from syndicates put together via AngelList.
The Series A syndicate was led by Zach Coelius, the former CEO of Triggit (acquired by Gravity4) who was old friends with Vogt. The pair had coffee just as Cruise was getting off the ground, and well before its current business model took shape, and asked to invest.
“I usually prefer to do AngelList syndicates of $200,000 or more, but $100,000 is all we could get. And I’m glad we did,” says Coelius, who adds that Vogt was over at his home for dinner less than one week before the GM news broke. “He didn’t let the slightest hint drop, so I was absolutely shocked.”
>>READ More – Cruise Automation AngelList Profile
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>>READ More – Cruise CrunchBase Profile
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