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Self-driving car company Zoox raises $500 million

Tim Kentley-Klay, CEO, Zoox, speaks July 17, 2017 at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, Colorado. Photo: ROB LEVER/AFP/Getty Images

Zoox Inc., committed to building an entire self-driving car from scratch, has raised $500 million in new funding led by Atlassian co-founder Michael Cannon-Brookes and Fred Hu of China-based Primavera Capital, at a $3.2 billion post-money valuation.

Why it matters: The self-driving car race continues as a growing number of players, including tech companies like Alphabet and Uber, as well as automakers, rush to build autonomous vehicles.

Zoox's plans: The company, which now has 500 employees, plans to have a commercially available car by 2020.

  • Zoox won't be selling its cars to others — instead, it plans to deploy and operate its own ride-hailing service with its cars, the company tells Axios.
  • At first, it will operate its service in a limited geofenced area that will increase over time. The company declined to say where it will roll out but it is looking at several cities, including San Francisco.
  • Currently, its test cars can drive fully on their own from Stanford University to the company's office in San Francisco, says Zoox — a distance of about 40 miles.

The money question: Building an entire car takes several billions of dollars, and Zoox has only raised $800 million in total so far. Tim Kentley-Klay tells Axios this latest round will last the company until the end of next year, but declined to comment on its fundraising plans.

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