Momenta raises up to $1 billion, hopeful to IPO this year
Foreign media reports said that the mainland autonomous driving company Beijing Moment Technology Co Ltd Momenta is planning to go public in Hong Kong or the United States, and is hopeful to complete an IPO within this year at the earliest, raising or up to $1 billion, and is currently negotiating with investment banks on IPO matters.
According to TIANYANCHA on November 2021, Momenta has completed seven rounds of financing, with participation from automakers and supply chain companies such as SAIC, GM, Toyota, Azera and Bosch Ventures, as well as investment institutions such as Tencent Investment, Yunfeng Fund, Temasek and GGV Genealogy Capital, according to SkyEye. Among them, Momenta’s Series C cumulative financing exceeds $1 billion, making it the largest financing in China’s autonomous driving sector in 2021.
Compared with other companies that focused on L4 level autonomous driving at the beginning, Momenta chose two routes to go hand in hand: L2 level mass production autonomous driving (Mpilot) and L4 level fully driverless (MSD). The former partners with car companies and Tier 1 suppliers to obtain low-cost mass testing data, while the latter operates driverless cabs.
To achieve L4 level autonomous driving means “driving 100 billion kilometers and solving millions of problems”. Momenta’s employees are all architects, using a data-driven approach to solve problems through architectural automation.” Momenta says they have an automated tool chain that creates an automated discovery-documentation-labeling-training of problems –Validation closed-loop process, providing automated iteration capabilities for technology and products.
SAIC has also talked about its investment in Momenta because it recognizes the advantages of its core technology “flywheel” and will equip its autonomous driving solution with Momenta in Zhiqi L7. The initial phase of Jiji L7 can achieve L2+, and will subsequently iterate to a higher level through OTA.
But what is more worthy of investigation beyond the cooperation is that the Smart Self L7 still has a redundant software and hardware architecture that is compatible with 2 LIDARs, which is contrary to the pure vision solution that Momenta is cultivating.
The competition in the field of autonomous driving is essentially a battle of technology and ecology. Car companies generally start to build long-term strategic partnerships with strong Tier1 and cultivate industrial cooperation ecology. More and more car companies are choosing to cooperate with suppliers to develop autonomous driving functions. The exchange of equity for capacity has long been the unspoken rule in automotive circles.
Whether for suppliers or car companies, data and software are the most valuable and unique resources. In the battle for the “soul”, on the question of how to position third-party technology and establish a long-term cooperation mechanism with car companies, Cao Xudong said, “Momenta will open up the pattern, and now the most important thing about autonomous driving is safety.”
Regardless of the final result, Momenta’s “flywheel” has been turned on, so that we see the dawn of the future of driving. The giants betting on Momenta is just the beginning of a trillion dollar “bet”.