Sequoia China Invests $32million in Self-driving Startup Baraja
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Sydney-based Baraja that creates spectrum-scan light detection and ranging for autonomous vehicles, raised $32 million funding in a series A round led by Sequoia China, Blackbird Ventures and Australia-based Main Sequence Ventures.
Baraja had launched its LiDAR systems in July last year, which uses prism like optics to create powerful eyes for self-driving vehicles. The current funding will help the company to scale production, hire better talent and kick-start its mission to safer autonomous driving.
With this round of funding, Sequoia China partner Steven Li has joined the team of board of directors of Baraja, confirmed the company in a statement to press.
New entrant in autonomous vehicle market
Baraja, which was founded by two former telecom engineers Federico Collarte and Cibby Pulikkaseril, who previously worked in the optical instrumentation group at Finisar Australia, is the new player in the burgeoning industry of self-driving vehicles. The Australian developer is one of the few LiDAR makers that have got the backing of stellar investors in the market.
Spectrum-Scan represents an entirely new category of LiDAR, pairing a wavelength-tunable laser with prism-like optics. “This innovation addresses the scalability, reliability and performance issues that have challenged automakers, rideshares and tech behemoths as they race toward a fully-autonomous future,” says Baraja’s chief executive officer Collarte in a release.
“Our experience in the optical telecommunications field, in particular the knowledge gained from years of product development for high-reliability use-cases, inspired us to solve some of the biggest problems facing the current state of LiDAR,” he adds.
Asia and North America – major focus
The startup has recently got ISO 9001 certification on its LiDAR technology, which differentiates its quality standards from the other players in the market.
Through LiDAR technology, the company claims to produce a highly accurate picture of the distance and reflectivity of surrounding objects, with the laser able to be automatically "tuned" to change resolution and focal points as required.
The company opened its San Francisco in Q1 2018, and the Shanghai office is set to open in three weeks. The major focus of the startup in terms of expansion will be on Asia and North America.
After receiving series A funding, the startup will ramp up its manufacturing operations in both the continents with its new offices by roping in industry experts.