Zoox is one of the most funded independent self-driving startups. It was announced on Friday that Amazon bought it. Wealthy traders, hungry to be part of the much-hyped self-driving industry, poured millions of dollars into Zoox in three years, between 2016 and 2019. Self-driving companies have failed to hit promised self-imposed milestones over the last couple of years, and logically, investors’ enthusiasm about their stocks and the future of the company has cooled.
Zoox’s plans were at first “over-the-top” ambitious. The company didn’t want to develop self-driving software but also to build its vehicles. Starting in 2018, the company had in plan to launch a fully self-driving taxi service this year.
Unfortunately, like most other self-driving companies, Zoox has been forced to push back its schedule. Suddenly, Zoox fired CEO and co-founder Tim Kentley-Klay in 2018. That can never be a good omen for a startup that’s still years away from launching its first product. Zoox decided to hire former Intel executive Aicha Evans to replace him in 2019.
In April, when coronavirus was hitting the hardest, Zoox laid off more than 100 safety drivers. It was said they would bring them back once the pandemic was over (which is highly uncertain when it’s going to happen). With cash running low and venture capitalists were disappearing, that’s how Zoox began looking for a buyer.
The search didn’t go well. A 2018 fundraising round had valued the company at $3.2 billion. Amazon stepped in and took over the company for a reported $1.2 billion.
In Friday’s press release, Amazon offered few details about its plans for Zoox. The company will be operated as an independent company by its current leadership team—Evans and co-founder Jesse Levinson, and it will continue focusing on the taxi market. According to Amazon, “Zoox’s ground-up vehicle focuses on the ride-hailing customer, with tightly integrated features designed to provide a revolutionary passenger experience.”
Why highschool drama between Bezos and Musk?
Bezos expressed excitement to see people “orbiting” around our planet and Mars in mini capsules that would be like taxis. He even exchanged tweets with Musk. Of course, Elon said it was an utterly stupid idea, and they never spoke again on Twitter. Elon tweeted in his manner that Bezos is just a copycat and told that this Amazon monopoly and their business have to end already.
In conclusion, Amazon has agreed to pay over $1 billion to buy self-driving startup Zoox to expand the e-commerce reach in autonomous-car technology. Zoox previously had had to settle a lawsuit with Tesla after admitting that some new employees it hired from Tesla possessed documents when they joined Zoox. Sounds sketchy, even if they settled everything, they guaranteed they said nothing about Tesla business. It seems like many companies tried to compete with Tesla, but it is yet to be seen how everything will develop. Musk is not “trolling” on Twitter for no reason, he can, and he’s capable, and if you read between the lines, you can always see what he’s trying to say – he knows better what’s he’s doing than others.