- Autonomous delivery vehicle maker Nuro has raised $600 million in Series D financing from a group of investors that includes Kroger and Google, the company announced in a press release Tuesday.
- Nuro has also entered a five-year strategic partnership with Google Cloud under which it will use computing and storage capacity provided by the internet company to help develop Nuro's self-driving vehicles.
- The latest funding comes as Nuro accelerates its efforts to provide grocers and other retailers with ways to transport e-commerce orders to customers without relying on human workers.
Nuro's announcement that it has brought in another sizable chunk of investment capital underscores the prominent role the company is playing as retailers and logistics providers strive to bridge the last mile more efficiently.
Kroger's decision to invest in Nuro comes three years after the grocer began working with the company to test autonomous delivery from a Fry's grocery store in Arizona. That test then shifted to the Houston, Texas market. Kroger has since completed thousands of deliveries using Nuro's equipment, which Kroger Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer Yael Cosset said in a statement "supports our expanding seamless ecosystem by creating consistent and rewarding customer experiences with scalable, sustainable, and profitable solutions."
In the press release, Nuro said it would use the funds to help address "long-standing pain points and shifting consumer trends" stemming from the pandemic, which has focused a spotlight on the challenges retailers face in fulfilling e-commerce orders.
The funding round follows Nuro's decision earlier in 2021 to build a closed-course test track and manufacturing facility to refine and build its third-generation autonomous vehicle, which the company has said will become its mainstream, fully scalable model. Nuro is spending $40 million on the new facilities, which are located in Nevada, according to the press release.
The latest investment round was led by Tiger Global Management. In addition to Kroger and Google, other participants in the round include Fidelity Management & Research Co., SoftBank Vision Fund 1 and T. Rowe Price Associates. The round comes on top of a $500 million Series C round Nuro closed last year.
In June, Nuro struck a multi-year deal with FedEx to test the startup's driverless vehicles in several Houston ZIP codes. Nuro has also tested its equipment in the Texas city with Walmart, Domino's and pharmacy chain CVS.