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The Road to Autonomous Vehicles & Our Investment in Optimus Ride

Lee Hower
October 11, 2016 · < 1  min.

Today Optimus Ride announced a $5.25M seed round of funding to continue developing their unique approach to autonomous transportation.  NextView is pleased to co-lead this round along with our friends at FirstMark Capital as well as participation by other investors, and I’m excited to join Optimus’s board.

For those who follow my writings on my AgileVC blog or on Medium, you’ll know that I’ve been thinking about the autonomous vehicle space for some time.  I say “autonomous vehicles” rather than “driverless cars”… when my little daughter has a family of her own someday, the phrase “driverless car” will be an anachronism akin to “horseless carriage”.

Optimus isn’t yet describing their plans in detail publicly, so I won’t be letting their cat out of the bag.  But I’m thrilled to be able to partner with an extraordinarily experienced and talented group of co-founders.  The Optimus team has its roots at MIT and has been working on various parts of the autonomous vehicle stack for over a decade in both tech companies and university research settings.

The transportation market is among the largest spheres of commerce in the world, and network connected software and hardware will transform this industry in the coming decade and beyond.  The end goal is both tantalizing and simple – autonomous vehicles transporting people and goods with vastly greater safety and efficiency (energy costs & externalities, human time, urban infrastructure, etc).  The pathway to that end goal is both uncertain and extraordinarily complicated given the technological, economic, and societal developments that will be required.

We obviously believe that Optimus has the potential to play an important role along that path, and are excited to support the team as a hands-on investment partner.

Lee Hower
Lee is a co-founder and Partner at NextView Ventures. He has spent his entire career as an entrepreneur and investor in early-stage software and internet startups.