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Microsoft joins $2 billion funding round for Cruise

written by Bella Palmer
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Under the partnership, Cruise will use Microsoft’s Azure platform to help commercialize the vehicles, while Microsoft will leverage Cruise’s expertise to enhance its product innovation

Microsoft is participating in a new $2 billion equity funding round for self-driving carmaker Cruise, bringing the startup’s post-money valuation to $30 billion.

Other participants in the round include Honda, General Motors (GM) and institutional investors, the companies said.

The investment is part of a new strategic relationship Microsoft has forged with Cruise and GM to help develop electric self-driving vehicles.

Under the partnership, Cruise will use Microsoft’s cloud and edge computing platform Azure to help commercialize the vehicles at scale. In exchange, Microsoft will leverage Cruise’s expertise to “enhance its customer-driven product innovation.”

Our mission to bring safer, better and more affordable transportation to everyone isn’t just a tech race – it’s also a trust race, said Cruise CEO Dan Ammann in a statement. Microsoft, as the gold standard in the trustworthy democratization of technology, will be a force multiplier for us as we commercialize our fleet of self-driving, all-electric, shared vehicles.

As Cruise and GM's preferred cloud, we will apply the power of Azure to help them scale and make autonomous transportation mainstream, added Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

Based in San Francisco, Cruise is a majority-owned subsidiary of GM. Other major investors include Honda and SoftBank. Cruise started testing its self-driving vehicles without human monitors in San Francisco last month, according to CNBC.

Microsoft will also become GM’s preferred cloud provider for its digitalization efforts, which includes streamlining its digital supply chains. GM said it plans to launch 30 new electric vehicles worldwide by 2025.

Self-driving electric vehicles have caught the eye of several of the world’s largest companies in recent months, including retail giant Walmart.

In November, Walmart said it would start using Cruise to make deliveries to its customers in Arizona. The deal is part of the retail conglomerate’s goal of reaching zero greenhouse emissions by 2040 while expanding its delivery service.

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