January 19, 2021 10:30 AM, EST

GM, Microsoft Lead $2 Billion Funding Round for Cruise

A Cruise autonomous vehicle. (David Paul Morris/Bloomberg News)(David Paul Morris/Bloomberg News)

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General Motors Co. and Microsoft Corp. are leading a $2 billion investment round in self-driving car startup Cruise in a deal that will bring the software giant’s cloud and edge-computing capabilities to the venture.

The new funds will raise Cruise’s post-investment valuation to an estimated $30 billion, up from $19 billion when T. Rowe Price Associates Inc. invested in the company in 2019, Cruise said in a statement. Cruise partner Honda Motor Co. and other institutional investors are also participating in the new round.

The partnership with Microsoft gives Cruise, which is majority owned by GM, a major software player in its corner. That will help the company compete with Waymo, which has access to the software capabilities of parent Alphabet Inc.

RELATED: Cruise Hires Former Delta Air Executive Gil West as COO

Cruise will be able to use Microsoft’s Azure cloud-computing platform to manage its self-driving vehicle network. Azure will handle data and mapping, as well as enable cars to communicate with Cruise’s back office and customer-facing app for ride-hailing. It’s a vital piece of software infrastructure that Cruise needs to build its planned commercial robotaxi service.

“Our mission to bring safer, better and more affordable transportation to everyone isn’t just a tech race — it’s also a trust race,” Dan Ammann, Cruise’s CEO, said in a statement. “Microsoft, as the gold standard in the trustworthy democratization of technology, will be a force multiplier for us as we commercialize our fleet of self-driving, all-electric, shared vehicles.”

Cruise is preparing to start charging fares for its service in San Francisco later this year.

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