Sweden-based Einride, whose driverless and cabless freight pods run on electricity, has raised $110 million in a Series B funding round.
First-time investors include Soros Fund Management LLC; Singapore’s Temasek Holdings Ltd.; Maersk Growth, the corporate venture arm of A.P. Moller – Maersk; and U.K. early-stage venture capital fund Northzone.
Existing investors EQT Ventures, Plum Alley, Norrsken VC, Ericsson and NordicNinja VC also participated in the round.
“With our global reach and expertise, we want to act as a catalyst for the next generation of logistics power players, as an investor and as a partner,” Jeppe Høier, partner at Maersk Growth, said in a press release. “We look forward to being part of Einride’s mission to electrify and decarbonize inland transport globally.”
European and US expansion
Einride will use the money to scale deployments in Europe and expand to the U.S., where CEO Robert Falck said operations will be up and running before the end of the year. A U.S. headquarters is planned for Austin, Texas.
“We’re also expanding into the Nordics and Benelux (economic union of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg) in the first half of 2021 with the largest European markets — U.K., Germany and France — coming in the second half,” he said.
Einride’s existing customers include Coca-Cola, Oatly, Lidl and Electrolux in Sweden, where it operates a dozen of the only driverless freight mobility vehicles in commercial use. The new money could help expand that 10-fold in the next year, Falck said.
Volvo Trucks in 2019 began testing a teleoperated cabless freight hauler called Vera. It moved containers from a logistics center to a port terminal in Gothenburg, Sweden. Falck once worked in a Volvo factory. But there is no connection between Vera and Einride’s pods.
Founded in 2016, Einride has been recognized for the first commercial use of the driverless pod. The Einride Pod also holds the current global speed record for electric and autonomous freight. Einride claims the pod has helped reduce customer CO₂ emissions by 94% compared to driving with diesel.
“Einride is dedicated to transforming road freight transport as we know it, making it more cost-efficient, safe, and sustainable,” Falck said in a press release.
In addition to its business-to-business transportation modules, Einride operates the largest fleet of electric trucks in Europe with major multinational partners. It offers a cloud-based mobility platform for autonomous and electric road transport. And it is training teleoperators for the pods.
“Improving drivers’ working conditions is part of our core mission and something we’re continuously working on, with more projects and initiatives to be launched in the first half of the year,” Falck said.
The new investment is enough for Einride to work with for now. It has no immediate plans to go public via special purpose acquisition company, direct listing or traditional initial public offering.
“We haven’t shut any doors,” Falck told FreightWaves. “But it’s too soon to say whether we’ll go down that road or not.”