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On EQT Ventures’ investment in Einride, re-inventing transport systems

Today, Einride announced its $25m A round, co-led by EQT Ventures and NordicNinja VC. Other investors joining the round include Ericsson Ventures, Norrsken Foundation, Plum Alley Investments and Plug and Play Ventures.

Let’s start with a thought experiment. If I were to ask you to stop and think about trucks, what comes to mind?

If you’re like most people, what showed up in your mind was probably not too exciting. Trucks aren’t exactly the most innovative, forward-looking vehicle of choice people usually tend to go with.

A truck

As technology has radically changed the economy around them, trucks have remained essentially identical over the last few decades. Yet, despite their lack of novelty, trucking remains at the heart of the global economy, serving as the lifeblood of global supply chains and transportation logistics worldwide.

As the core unit in freight transportation, trucking is mission-critical to handling and moving merchandise between globally-diffuse sites of production and consumption. To put that into perspective, this roughly amounts to a two trillion dollar total global market. That is to say, trucking is a pretty big deal — 4 commas big.

The way the industry currently works, however, it is riddled with operational flaws and inefficiencies, leaving it with a sub-optimal, highly-manual status quo. For reference, approximately 60% of transportation costs can be attributed to truck drivers, which need frequent stops throughout the day for breaks and incur downtime overnight to sleep. Logically, this is understandable from a human perspective, but it doesn’t necessarily make the foundation for the transport system of the future.

In other words, the industry is pretty far along on the ripeness scale of disruption. Recent advancements in self-driving autonomous technology are now on the cusp of enabling dynamic efficiency gains to be realized by automating the role of the driver, thus unlocking significant yield improvements to the unit economics of trucking.

Coupled with strides in electric battery technology, it is now possible to also cut CO2 emissions while at it, which is not only necessary for the environment, but makes economic sense when coupled with the operational cost-savings that would follow from using electricity instead of diesel.

The Einride pod

Put the two together and you have the magic formula for Einride, the Swedish-based startup taking on the challenge of automating and electrifying the trucking industry.

Transportation as a Service (TaaS)

In the quest to make uber-efficient and environmentally-friendly transportation a reality, Einride is developing a fully integrated Autonomous Electric Transport (AET) system based on the Einride pod, an all-electric, autonomous transport carrier, and the E/OS, as its operating system. The combination of the two will then be brought to market in the form of a Transportation as a Service (TaaS) offering.

This makes Einride not so much an autonomous driving technology company per se but rather a transportation system provider offering a custom service for transport that is both cost-efficient and sustainable.

Einride founders Linnéa Kornehed, Filip Lilja and Robert Falck

To power this vision, Einride has attracted a strong team with many years of expertise across process automation, autonomous truck manufacturing, supply chain planning and software development. The long industrial heritage of Scania and Volvo makes Sweden a strong talent hub in these areas, giving Einride a unique advantage to harness the local talent in building their platform.

Einride’s CTO Pär Degerman and EQT Ventures’ Henrik Landgren

In the age of automation, we have the unique possibility of using technology to usher in a more desirable version of the future — one that is aligned with human-centric values and the ecological necessities of our planet. Applied to transport, this range of possibilities includes realizing the promise of self-driving autonomous vehicles, and the dream of developing a fully sustainable transport system.

With Einride’s unique transportation platform, we’re one step closer to making that future into a reality. Plus it looks cooler.

As always, huge shoutout to Joao who helped out more than a lot on this post

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Multi-stage VC fund, powering the next generation of founders with the support needed to build global success stories

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Ted Persson

Ted Persson

Ex Product & Design investing in… Product & Design. And Frontier tech and climate and a bunch of other stuff. Partner at @eqtventures.

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