Innoviz raises $132m in latest funding, will accelerate solid-state LiDAR production, expand team

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 27 Mar 2019

Israel-based Innoviz Technologies, the high-performance, solid-state LiDAR sensors and perception software producder, has raised $132 million (Rs 909 crore) in Series C funding.

This round sees the entrance of new major investors China Merchants Capital (SINO-BLR Industrial Investment Fund, L.P.), Shenzhen Capital Group and New Alliance Capital; and Israeli institutional investors Harel Insurance Investments and Financial Services and Phoenix Insurance Company. 

The company says the new round brings Innoviz's total funding to $214 million (Rs 1,473 crore) and given the demand from additional investors, the Series C round will remain open for a second closing, which will be announced in the coming months. 

The latest investment will support commercialisation of its leading InnovizPro and InnovizOne solid-state LiDAR solutions and address growing demand for cutting-edge autonomous vehicles (AV) technologies worldwide. At present, the company is focusing on its expansion efforts in key automotive markets including the U.S., Europe, Japan and China. It also plans to expand its R&D capabilities by investing in the build out of next-generation products and software that will allow more cost reductions and improved performance.

Omar Keilaf, CEO and co-founder, Innoviz said: “We’ve experienced significant growth over the past year to meet increased demand for solid-state LiDAR. This fundraising enables many of the substantial commitments it takes to bring this technology to market at a massive scale — the scale required by Tier 1 suppliers and automakers leveraging LiDAR to deliver autonomous vehicles to the masses by 2021. We’re excited to transition our production, manufacturing and research and development efforts into the next phase and continue to furnish the full stack of LiDAR hardware and software solutions to the industry."

The company's perception software coupled with its LiDAR technology creates a holistic hardware and software stack that turns LiDAR data into an indispensable input for autonomous driving. Innoviz says rather than focusing on bringing quick solutions to the market, it has chosen a path to develop a product and perception software through partnerships with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and Tier 1 suppliers, including MagnaHarman, HiRain Technologies and Aptiv, to assure full compliance with the highest automotive-grade production standards.

Sam Abuelsamid, Navigant Research Principal Analyst, Mobility said: “Among the dozens of LiDAR start-ups that have popped up in recent years, only a small handful have progressed far enough and demonstrated the capability to get to volume production and be selected for new vehicle programs including Innoviz. Sensor companies that can develop partnerships with established automotive suppliers that understand the integration, validation and production requirements to ensure automotive levels of product reliability and safety will also have an advantage in achieving scale.”

Innoviz's partnership with Magna International, which also participated in the round, resulted in the company's automotive-grade LiDAR, InnovizOne, and its computer vision software being selected by BMW for series production of vehicles starting in 2021 – an industry-first design win for solid-state LiDAR that was instrumental in defining a path for LiDAR to enter the automotive industry. 

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