Australian-founded self-driving startup Zoox hits $2 billion valuation despite operating in “stealth” mode – StartupSmart

Cars on a busy freeway

The tech community is in a spin after news that a mysterious, Australian-founded self driving car startup has hit a valuation of $US1.55 billion ($2.01 billion) after closing another $US50 million capital raise last month.

Zoox, co-founded by Australian entrepreneur Tim Kentley-Klay, was backed in the latest funding round by Hong Kong based hedge fund Composite Capital, according to The Wall Street Journal earlier this week.

But in a world of constant startup announcements, Zoox remains in “stealth” mode, with very little yet revealed about the company’s technology and when its self-driving vehicle could be on the road.

Yesterday Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes drew attention to the success in a tweet, including a shoutout to Blackbird Ventures, early backers of the Zoox project.

Fairfax reports that in 2013, Kentley-Klay told an audience at the Connected Car Expo that he was working on a vehicle that was “what comes after a car, a new kind of mobility”. However, he and co-founder Jesse Levinson have not given public interviews on the project. The company’s website is currently a blank slate, although its Linkedin profile gives limited explanation of Zoox’s goals:

“Sitting at the intersection of robotics, machine-learning, and design, Zoox aims to provide the next generation of mobility-as-a-service in urban environments,” it explains.

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