As active investors in ‘frontier tech‘ (as described by my colleague Matt Turck), I couldn’t be more excited to announce today our investment in Optimus Ride. We co-led a $5.25M seed round of financing with our friends at NextView Ventures, with participation by a strong syndicate of investors.
Aside from a really cool name, the team at Optimus Ride is developing Level 4 autonomous vehicle technology, meaning fully autonomous systems without any need for human interaction. While the company is not ready to discuss its plans, suffice to say it involves the intersection of leading edge hardware, computer vision, sensor fusion, mapping, and machine learning. If the company is successful, we believe they will have a material impact on one of the most important advances coming in the next decade. The benefits of autonomous technologies — from enhanced road safety to carbon footprint reduction to traffic optimization — are almost too numerous to name.
We were particularly compelled by Optimus Ride’s team and rich experience in such an emergent space. With deep roots from MIT, each of the co-founders have worked on successful autonomous vehicle and transportation projects in their past. The co-founders include 3 MIT PhDs / professors – Ryan Chin, Albert Huang, and Sertac Karaman – who have worked on a number of self-driving projects over the past decade, including the MIT CityCar and DARPA’s Urban Challenge. Co-founders Jenny Larios Berlin and Ramiro Almeida bring unique experience in car fleet and transportation optimization. Beyond the founding team, the company is assembling an incredible team of engineers with experience in computer vision, robotics, and electrical / mechanical / software engineering.
We’re impressed by Optimus Ride’s accomplishments to date and are excited to see what they have in store for the autonomous vehicle market in the coming months. We’re psyched to join the team on this journey – onward to a better, more efficient transportation system!