Axios Pro Exclusive Content

Exclusive: Faction raises up to $6M for driverless electric fleets

An electric driverless lightweight vehicle from startup Faction.

An electric, 3-wheel, driverless vehicle powered by startup Faction. Photo: Courtesy of Faction

Faction, which makes software for electric fleets, has raised a round of up to $6 million, with additional investor interest, the startup tells Axios.

Why it matters: Micro EVs delivering goods may be the next driverless bet, after the robotaxi industry has struggled to gain traction.

Driving the news: The venture arm of Japanese electronics giant TDK led the round, which was a seed extension, and participating investors included Ducera Partners, Trucks Venture Capital, and Fifty Years.

  • Faction, founded in 2020, closed its initial seed round of $6 million in 2021, and went through the Y Combinator program that same year.
  • The startup makes software that enables driverless operation of vehicles, and is initially focused on lightweight electric vehicles, like the three-wheeled ones that Arcimoto makes.
  • Faction founder and CEO Ain McKendrick is a longtime Silicon Valley engineer and entrepreneur who previously built products at autonomous trucking startup Starsky Robotics, Netflix's streaming business, and Palm in the '90s.

Zoom in: Three-wheeled vehicles typically have shorter development cycles compared to a traditional four-wheeled car, as well as lower environmental and urban footprints.

  • The driverless vehicles that Faction enables with its software are remotely monitored by human operators, so they could have fewer regulatory hurdles.
  • Faction is working with GoCar Tours to deliver three-wheeled electric vehicles to customers on the Las Vegas strip, and says it also has partnerships with unnamed retail and food customers in the Bay Area.

Big picture: Self-driving robotaxis have required billions of dollars of investment and have struggled with technical and regulatory challenges.

  • Driverless delivery cars are hoping for a smoother ride.
Go deeper