Einride today announced a $500 million tranche of funding to expand its autonomous and electric trucks into new markets globally.
The cash infusion consists of an equity-based $200 million Series C portion from lenders including Northzone, EQT Ventures, Temasek, Swedish pension fund AMF, Polar Structure and Norrsken VC. In addition, the Swedish company said it has also secured $300 million in debt financing led by Barclays Europe, which will be used substantially to bolster its fleet as it continues to expand into new and existing markets in Europe and North America.
Founded in Stockholm in 2016, Einride initially developed a self-driving truck without a cab that can also be remotely controlled by human operators if necessary.
This one “podshave already been commercially tested, but regulatory hurdles have led Einride to take a two-pronged approach that also includes human powered electric trucks as an intermediate step towards autonomy. These vehicles are already available to shipping companies and carriers in Sweden and the US, powered by its Saga platform that helps customers manage and optimize their fleet.
Einride has already been on an expansion drive of sorts (so to speak) for the past few months, launching in Germany in September followed by Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg last week with plans in place also focus on Norway. Serving major companies like Electrolux and GE Appliances, the latter of which Einride has partnered with to deploy fully autonomous pods as part of a US pilot, is a hugely capital-intensive endeavor when you factor in the costs associated with developing hundreds of trucks and associated software.
And that’s really why Einride now has to raise such a big pot of funding, having already raised about $150 million since its inception, including last year’s $110 million Series B.
While many companies have raised follow-up rounds of funding this year at significantly lower valuations, it’s impossible to know how the economic downturn has affected Einride as it hasn’t disclosed its valuation on any of its previous rounds of funding – and it’s not changing course with this latest round also not.
However, despite the impact of the global pandemic and other macroeconomic factors, the freight industry shows little sign of slowing down. reports suggest it is expected to grow from a $2.1 trillion industry in 2020 to nearly $3 trillion in the next five years. Certainly, there have been many signs this year that investors are still fairly optimistic about technology helping the freight and logistics industry.
“Now is the time to act not only to develop technology, but to accelerate implementation that will create a cleaner, safer and more efficient way to move goods,” Einride founder and CEO Robert Falck said in a statement.
Einride said the first half of its $300 million debt financing will begin to trickle in January, while the equity tranche includes a $90 million convertible loan it raised earlier this year.