42dot, a South Korean-based autonomous transportation-as-a-service (TaaS) startup, announced today that it has raised US$88.5 million (104 billion won) in Series A financing, which will be used to advance its Urban Transportation Operating System (UMOS).The A round of financing brought the company’s total financing to date to $130.1 million.
A source disclosed that the company’s valuation is now estimated at 425 million U.S. dollars (500 billion won). A 42dot spokesperson declined to comment on the valuation.
It is reported that the latest financing includes the participation of new investors such as Shinhan Financial Group, Lotte Leasing, Lotte Ventures, STIC Ventures, We Ventures, DA Value Investment, etc. There are also some old investors who are rejoining, but the spokesperson did not provide their information. The South Korean conglomerate-Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors, LG Electronics, SK Telecom, and CJ Logistics-participated in the company’s US$42 million investment in a previous round of financing in September 2019.
The Seoul-based company will use the proceeds to advance its AI-based technology, establish joint ventures and hire employees. The spokesperson pointed out that as of October, the company has 200 employees. According to its statement, the company also plans to expand its business through investment and mergers and acquisitions. In July, 42dot signed a memorandum of understanding with Shinhan Capital, a South Korean financial company, to develop mobile financial services.
42dot was founded in 2019 by CEO and co-founder Chang Hyeon Song, who is also the head of Hyundai Motor’s TaaS team. In April, the South Korean automaker established a new TaaS department to strengthen its mobility strategy.
This lidar-free autonomous driving company has developed a set of autonomous driving software and hardware solutions, AKit, which uses only two types of sensors such as cameras and imaging sensor radars to complete the comprehensive perception of the surrounding environment of autonomous vehicles.
In addition, 42dot has also established a name called Tap! Its full-stack autonomous mobile and logistics platform will provide a range of services-including ride services, fleet management, on-demand transportation, smart logistics, and so on.
The two core solutions of this company are Akit and Tap! It is expected to be commercialized in 2023. The spokesperson said that its customers will be mainly independent automakers and mobile platform operators.
“In the future, cities will operate under a fully autonomous, self-managed, self-healing logistics and transportation infrastructure. The new infrastructure will provide a more optical and cost-effective way of moving people and goods,” Chang pointed out in his press materials.