UK self-driving company Five has raised $41 million in a Series B round of equity funding.
New investors are Trustbridge Partners, Direct Line Group and Sistema VC. Existing investors Lakestar, Amadeus Capital Partners, Kindred Capital and Notion Capital also participated in the round, which makes Five one of Europe’s best-funded self-driving startups, with $77 million raised to date.
The next decade is expected to bring the widespread roll-out and commercialisation of advanced self-driving technology. However, before the industry can get there, it must overcome some formidable challenges.
These include how to integrate many new and existing components into a self-driving system that is functional enough to operate safely in the real world, and how to build essential safety assurance evidence that is both measurable and sufficient.
These challenges are exacerbated by unavoidable hardware and system software limitations, by the high dimensionality and changing nature of the real world, by the need to apply deep learning models to key aspects of self-driving systems and by the need to discover, label and curate vast quantities of data to develop, train, maintain and verify these systems.
Five began developing its approach to self-driving technology in 2016, and a year later secured the lead role in StreetWise, a UK government-aided development program in which Direct Line Group also contributed.
David Lin of Trustbridge Partners said: “We invest in category-leading companies that are delivering transformational change wherever they’re located.
“As Europe’s leading self-driving startup, Five is the furthest ahead in developing a clear understanding of the scientific challenges and novel solutions that move the needle for the whole industry. Five has successfully applied Europe’s outstanding science and engineering base to create a world-class team with the energy and ambition to deliver safe self-driving. We are delighted to join them for this next phase of growth.”
Stan Boland, Five’s CEO, said: “This funding round is validation of the work we are doing and the role our technology is set to contribute to developing and assuring self-driving. We’re excited to be able to accelerate development and engagements with partners.
“Our shareholders have large and complementary contributions to make to that progress, and we are delighted to welcome Trustbridge, Direct Line Group and Sistema VC to our cap table. We look forward to their support on the next stage of our journey.”
Five’s founding team has collectively built businesses that have sold for more than $1bn, and the company has established close ties with some of the world’s leading academic institutions.