Five raises US$41m of equity funding

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UK self-driving company Five has raised US$41m in a Series B round of equity funding, making it one of Europe’s best-funded startups.

The new funding comes from Trustbridge Partners, Direct Line Group and Sistema, bringing the total raised to US$77m.

They join existing investors Lakestar, Amadeus Capital Partners, Kindred Capital and Norton Capital, who also participated in the round.

Five says autonomous vehicles face formidable challenges this decade due to hardware and software limitations, applying deep learning models and managing vast quantities of data, among other issues.

It has developed self-driving technology since 2016, securing a lead role in the UK government-aided development program StreetWise a year later.

The team have developed a self-driving system for mixed-use urban public roads, which was demonstrated over hundreds of autonomous rides on a 19km (11 mile) route in London.

The latest round of funding will develop vital off-line cloud-based development platforms alongside online vehicle software.

Gus Park, managing director of Motor Insurance at Direct Line Group, who has also joined Five’s board, said, “Autonomous and assisted driving technology is going to play a huge role in the future of cars. We have worked closely with Five on the StreetWise project, and we share a common interest in solving the formidable challenges that will need to be addressed in bringing safe self-driving to market. Insurers will need to build the capability to measure and underwrite new types of risk. We will be collaborating with Five’s world-class team of scientists, mathematicians and engineers to gain the insight needed to build safe, insurable solutions and bring the motoring revolution ever closer.”

Stan Boland, CEO of Five, 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.”

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