Kodiak Robotics, an autonomous-vehicle startup founded by Don Burnette and Paz Eshel, a former venture capitalist,previously a co-founder of the self-driving trucking company Otto has raised $40 million in Series A financing led by global investment firm Battery Ventures. CRV, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Tusk Ventures also participated in the round.
Trucking is a key component of the U.S. economy: According to the American Trucking Associations (ATA), trucks move more than 70 percent of all U.S. freight and generate over $700 billion in revenue annually. While freight volume is at record levels, driven in part by the growth of e-commerce, the industry is struggling with a significant shortage of drivers. The ATA estimated an industry shortage of 51,000 drivers at the end of last year, up from a shortage of 36,000 in 2016.
Burnette and Eshel founded Kodiak Robotics to alleviate the current strain on the freight market through self-driving technology. In just three months, the two have assembled a team of engineers with experience in actually shipping self-driving vehicles on public roads.
Kodiak Robotics will use the financing to expand its team and for product development.