Autonomous Driving Leads the Investment in Global Auto & Mobility Industry in 1H 2019
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Serving as the pillar industry in most developed countries, the automotive industry demonstrates its importance in a national economy, making it a hot field of investment of all time. With the aid of technology advances, the industry has caught more eyes of the public than ever before over the course of recent years.

There are four megatrends which will continue to change the global automotive industry: Mobility, Autonomous driving, Digitization and Electrification. Mobility here refers to the new mobility business models (e.g. ride hailing) that are poised to disrupt car ownership, personal mobility and goods logistics, whereas the other three domains concentrate on automobile technology that induces vehicle innovation such as self-driving, v2x services and electric vehicles.

Enterprises rooted in the four emerging sectors attracted numerous investments in the past ten years, boosting the aggregate funding of global auto and mobility industry to over USD 103.8 billion by the first half of 2019 (1H 2019) from USD 4.2 billion in the same period of 2009, according to Crunchbase database.

Following our 1H 2019 global venture capital report, this article seeks to provide insights into global auto and mobility industry, by picking up some outstanding regional startups across the world.

Overview of global auto and mobility industry investment in 1H 2019

Sources from Crunchbase suggest that 321 global auto and mobility-related funding events occurred in 1H 2019, in total financings of USD 16.3 billion. The frequency of investment declined but the volume rose up in comparison with the same period of 2018.

Decline in the number of investments can be attributed to investors’ prudence regarding investment in Chinese market, which is the second largest in the world.

Trapped in the trade war against the U.S., China saw a sharp slump in the number of overall investment activities (> USD 100 million) in 1H 2019 compared with 1H 2018, with the number falling by 43.3%. Affected by the macroeconomic environment, investment frequency of auto and mobility industry also declined in 1H 2019, which is indicated in findings of our investment trend analyses of autonomous driving and electric vehicle.

We will further explore the global auto and mobility market outside China and discuss some startups that are well performing across 7 regions.

General investment trend

We selected 54 companies from Southeast Asia, Middle East, North America, Europe, Africa, Latin America and India to form a portfolio for analysis in this article, based on the relative funding volume, market capitalization and local benchmark. For instance, same standards cannot be used to pick companies from North America and Africa, as an indefatigable gap exists between investment environments of two regions.

Sample companies closed 58 funding rounds in 1H 2019, and our portfolio shows that global investors are most attracted by Series A round of funding, with the share of Series A round accounting for 29.31% of total fundraising events. More than half of financing events occurred during the early stage (from Seed round to Series A round) of a financing lifecycle, totaling 51.73%.

However, numbers of Seed and Venture activities only account for 15.52% and 6.9% of total events respectively, which may be explained by investor’s risk aversion in terms of auto and mobility market: investors prefer to invest in auto and mobility enterprises which have the capability to come through the very early stage.

Rounds after Series E (‘Others’ shown above) which compose of 1 F round, 1 H round and 3 J rounds, reach 8.62% of total events. Nonetheless, share of funding rounds can be biased to an extent because of the small sample size.

We also categorized 58 investment events for our company portfolio. The outcome shows that 21 financing events happened in autonomous driving sector, 14 in mobility service sector, and 11 in marketplace sector. Aftermarket service and electric vehicle complete 5 and 3 financing rounds respectively. Other sectors such as in-car cybersecurity, vehicle financial services and vehicle devices account for 4 rounds of funding.

Outstanding startups from 7 regions

Among 54 companies we selected, 4 companies are from Southeast Asia, 25 from North America, 11 from Middle East, 2 from Latin America, 1 from Europe, 3 from Africa and 8 from India. We will next discuss some industrial leading companies in those regions.

Grab, a Singaporean mobile technology platform, has raised USD 2.15 billion in an extended Series H round of funding since June 12 in 2018. It completed 11 Series H rounds of financing and the last Series H round in the first half year took place on Jun 27, 2019. The mobility service provider aims to integrate city transportation for driver partners and customers by offering services like GrabTaxi, GrabShare, GrabRental and so on. Headquartered in Singapore, it also operates in Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia and some other Southeast Asia countries.

Nuro is a technology company which aims to accelerate the benefits of robotics for daily life, and their technology is mainly utilized in autonomous driving application. Based in Californian, the U.S., the company closed Series B round of funding worth USD 940 million on February 11.

Innoviz Technology, based in Israel, is a leading manufacturer of high-performance, solid-state LiDAR sensor and perception software that enable the mass-production of autonomous vehicles. It closed an extended Series C round of funding in 1H 2019, raising USD 170 million in total. Two Chinese institutional investors China Merchant Capital and Shenzhen Capital Group led the fundraising.

Grow Mobility is a leading micromobility player in Latin America, born out of the merger by Grin Scooters and Yellow. It was founded on January 30 this year and announced a Venture round of funding worth USD 150 million on the same day.

CarDekho was founded in India in 2007. It mainly provides enterprise mobility solutions including enterprise mobility consulting, mobile business intelligence, business process mobilization and so on. The Indian mobility service provider completed Series C financing round on January 3, obtaining USD 110 million.

Wejo is a British technology company that develops smartphone telematics applications that monitor driving behavior based on factors such as cornering, braking and accelerating, etc. Founded in 2013, the autonomous driving-related company completed Series B financing round in February worth USD 102.9 million.

Ampersand, an Africa based electric vehicle company, builds affordable electric motorcycles and charging systems for three million motorcycle taxi drivers in East Africa, starting with Rwanda. The EV maker completed a Seed round of funding on January 1, raising USD 213 thousand.


Startups are defined as companies that were founded within less than 10 years dated the time being evaluated and are not publicly traded.

Only regular funding series such us angel, seed, and Series A through pre-IPO are taken into consideration. No initial public offering, debt financing, crowdfunding or other types of financing activity be analyzed.

Data only contains disclosed financing series and hence, the actual financing volume may be greater. The deviation from the real investment will not affect the conclusions made above.

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