Why We Invested in Optimus Ride
By: Tyler Lancaster
Energize Ventures is thrilled to announce our participation in the nearly $50M Series B investment in Optimus Ride, a leading autonomous, all-electric mobility solution for geofenced locations. Energize joins Emerson Collective, FM Capital, Greycroft and Firstmark Capital in this round.
Optimus Ride is pursuing the ambitious goal of fully driverless service for first and last mile mobility in geofenced locations. The company currently operates an autonomous system in several U.S. cities, including the Brooklyn Navy Yard in New York, Boston’s Seaport District and, most recently, mixed-use district Halley Rise in Reston, VA. By focusing on medium-complexity, medium-speed geofenced areas, Optimus Ride can efficiently achieve data density for safe autonomous operation in less time. The fleet’s proprietary technology has very low compute and power requirements, enabling Optimus to use battery-electric vehicles rather than emissions-emitting gasoline cars, giving it a green edge on many competitors in the space.
By deploying its self-driving systems in real-world, operational scenarios, Optimus goes beyond simply building the right technology. It gains access to valuable operational data through exposure to edge cases and actual operational issues like vehicle charging and maintenance. The model also offers vast opportunity for user education and feedback on experience. Energize believes Optimus has the best approach to harness self-driving technology in a safe and low-cost manner.
The Optimus team, which spun out of MIT four years ago, has a rich history of building and commercializing autonomous vehicle technology. Its five co-founders draw from deep experience spanning multiple verticals — including electric mobility, urban planning, entrepreneurship and transportation. Optimus Ride represents the shared vision of its leadership team to create a holistic, systems-level AV technology for our greatest urban mobility challenges.
Optimus and Energize believe that combining self-driving, shared and electric capabilities is the best approach for a technology company in the mobility space to achieve unit profitability at scale. We’re excited that the Optimus approach will help mitigate the congestion and emissions impacts created by ride hailing, on-demand delivery, carsharing and other consumer technology trends.
The significant Series B capital infusion will further support expansion of commercial functions, including business development and sales, as well as the technology advancement required for fully driverless operations.
Energize is very excited to join forces with the all-star Optimus leadership team along with their veritable cadre of engineers and technologists headquartered in Boston!