Three automotive startups branding on .TECH have raised over $1B, here’s a look at what they’re doing to disrupt transportation

Startups have gravitated towards different domain extensions over the years. Rewind to the early 2000’s and if you couldn’t get your .COM, .NET was pretty much your only pick. Today there are over 1,500 domain extensions to choose from so it’s safe to say there are now a dizzying number of options. Out of those 1,500+ extensions, a small niche have become a go-to for startups and one them, not surprisingly, is .TECH.

Companies branding on .TECH have raised hundreds of millions of dollars, and in total, startups branding on .TECH have raised over $2B. I thought it would be interesting to do a deeper dive into a specific vertical, and given how hot the automotive space is right now I thought this would be a fun space to explore. 

Let’s start with Aurora.tech. Founded by three known leaders in the self-driving car world, they’ve raised $690M (see details on Crunchbase) and their last round was led by Hyundai. In the future, when you buy a car, and that car drives itself, there’s a very good chance Aurora.tech will be why.

In May of this year Aurora announced they would be buying Blackmore, one of the leading Lidar companies in the world. If you don’t know what Lidar is, think lasers, and if you want to do a deeper dive, read this.

In their most recent round Aurora.tech was valued at over $2B and they have the support of some of the biggest VC firms in the world.

“The company, founded in 2016, raised a $90 million Series A last February from Hoffman’s Greylock Partners  and Index Ventures . Hoffman and Index general partner Mike Volpi  joined Aurora’s board as part of the deal. Greylock and Index are Aurora’s only existing investors, per PitchBook data. The young business has a lean cap table often characteristic of startup’s led by experienced entrepreneurs able to secure financing deals briskly from top VCs.” (Source – TechCrunch)

Next up is Innoviz.tech which is actually pretty closely related to Aurora.tech as they do, drumroll please, Lidar technology. See, now you know why I told you to read more about Lidar above. As you’ve probably figured out by now, Lidar is a critical component in the self-driving car ecosystem. 

So far Innoviz.tech has raised $252M and is funded by one of the largest VC firms in the world, Softbank Ventures. 

Like many companies in the self-driving car space, Innoviz doesn’t just deliver hardware, they also deliver the software behind the hardware. Along with sensors, they have some of the most advanced perception software that can work at scale. 

This month Innoviz’s top competitor, Oryx shut down, here’s the details:

“Israel-based low-cost LiDAR startup Oryx Vision Ltd. has shut down as of Thursday, Oryx’s CEO Ran Wellingstein said in a Friday interview with Calcalist. Oryx was a direct competitor of Israel-based LiDAR startup Innoviz Technologies Ltd., which announced the completion of a $170 million series C funding round in June.” (Source – CalCalistech)

While it’s never fun to hear about a startup shutting down, this is likely good news for Innoviz.tech and their investors as they now have one less competitor to worry about.

Last but not least is Flit.tech. This is one of those companies that has such deep tech that I didn’t understand what they did until really diving into their site. Here’s the main tagline on their site that made me scratch my head and say, okay, what the heck does that mean?

What does it mean? I’ll tell you. Essentially Flit has a suite of technologies for enabling and streamlining transportation from booking a car, to scheduling a shipment, to making payment and aggregating and analyzing a ton of data. 

Here’s a look at all the different products that they offer:

So far Flit.tech has raised $250M and there’s likely more to come given all of the partnership they are building around the world. It’s one of those companies that you could end up using every single day without even knowing it. 

Of course there are a lot more great examples of startups branding on .TECH but these three are pretty impressive and were a lot of fun to learn more about. Congrats to the whole team at .TECH, if this is what the first four years are like, I can’t wait to see what the next four look like!

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