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Press Autonomous a2z targets Series B in 2024 to advance smart mobility production - CEO

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작성자 Autonomous a2z 조회 40 작성일 2021-10-06

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Autonomous a2z, a South Korean autonomous mobility solution provider, is targeting launching a KRW 50bn (USD 42.3m) Series B round in 

2024 to help produce prototypes of self-driving vehicles, CEO Han Ji-hyung told this news service. 


It would welcome global financial and strategics, especially automotive manufacturers, retailers, mobile network carriers, and smart city 

technology developers that could promote business synergy with its solutions, Han said. 


In September this year, the company secured KRW 16bn Series A funding from domestic investors including KB Investment, Kakao Investment, Korea Investment Partners, 

K& Investment Partners, Enlight Ventures, and smart mobility company Kakao Mobility. It raised KRW 2bn as seed investment from private individuals in 2020. 


The proceeds will be allocated toward developing prototypes of various autonomous vehicle models ahead of production. 

It arranged the previous funding rounds internally without external advisors, he said. 


Going forward, it would tap a Series C fundraising after completing the testing process for safety and performance with its prototype model, 

before heading to mass production. a2z is also considering going public in South Korea further down the road but has no fixed timeline, he added. 


As a total solution platform for both software and hardware of autonomous vehicles, the company plans to apply its self-developed camera 

and mapping solutions to its own automotive hardware, Han noted. 


As such, it would be also interested in making acquisitions of domestic auto components companies to improve its capability of production for a complete form of vehicles.


According to Han, its electric vehicles, which have no seats and enable self-driving at a speed of a maximum of 50km/h, would be used as unmanned shuttles and delivery vehicles. 


Moreover, Autonomous a2z is seeking to expand overseas to countries such as Singapore and the US from the second half of next year. 


Singapore is a priority due to the government’s active involvement and support in building a smart city, and the country serves as an appropriate environment 

to operate its autonomous vehicles. It is also eying the US market since it is a hub to test and facilitate automated vehicle technologies, he explained. 

It may consider JV partnerships for overseas expansion, he said adding that ideal partners would be global automakers, logistics companies, and smart city tech developers. 


Autonomous a2z expects to record more than KRW 5bn in sales in 2021 given KRW 4bn of sales earned this year, Han said. 


The company already generates sales revenue from the implementation of its software solutions by self-driving car developers or testers such as telecommunication companies or 

local governments. It is also involved in revenue generating government R&D projects, he said. 


The company has so far accumulated 90,750 test drive miles, according to its brochure. It has been working with domestic mobile 

network carrier LG Uplus [KRX:032640] and KT [KRX:030200] to develop autonomous vehicle services. It also works on government R&D 

projects and operates autonomous driving tests with local governments including Sejong City and Daegu Metropolitan City. 


Sector peers are California-based autonomous vehicle company Zoox and self-driving delivery vehicle developer Nuro, Han said. Online retail giant Amazon [NASDAQ: AMZN] announced the acquisition of Zoox for an undisclosed sum in June 2020. 


Autonomous a2z was established in 2018 by four co-founders including Han who is the largest shareholder. Co-founders previously worked at Hyundai Motor Group as engineers and product managers for automobile commercialization. 


The company currently has 70 employees. 


by Jenny Lee in Seoul



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