May 7, 2024

Wayve raises $1bn from NVIDIA and Microsoft in Europe’s largest AI round

The Series C positions the startup as a clear frontrunner in Europe's autonomous vehicles sector

UK autonomous vehicle startup Wayve has raised a $1.05bn Series C round led by new investor SoftBank, also featuring Nvidia and existing backer Microsoft. It brings the startup’s total funding to $1.26bn, according to Dealroom.

Wayve is building software for AVs and the fresh funding will be used to develop the startup’s technology and launch its first commercial products to car makers.

The news follows what Wayve president Erez Dagan told Sifted was an “incredible transformation” in recent years about AI's ability to generalise (apply knowledge to new scenarios) and adapt to new environments.


The Series C is the largest round for a AI startup in Europe, ahead of France-based Mistral’s €385m raise in December 2023 and Aleph Alpha’s $500m raise in November.

AI software for self-driving vehicles

Founded in 2017, Wayve is developing AI technology that it hopes will allow AVs to learn while driving — instead of having to precisely map out every inch of asphalt before rubber hits road. 

While the company is yet to generate any revenue, it’s been reported that Wayve is in talks with several manufacturers about rolling out its tech in partnership with automakers. 

In April, Wayve announced it had developed a new AI model that helps explain (something that’s seen as key to building public trust in AVs) and determine driving behaviour. It combines a vision model, which makes sense of what the sensors “see”, and a language model, which helps users interact with the technology. 

According to the company, it’s the first time a vision-language-action model (VLAM) — which is seen as a promising area of research in AI robotics — has been developed for public roads. 

The AV market

While US AV companies like Alphabet-backed Waymo and General Motors’ Cruise have raised $1bn+ rounds in the past, the European sector has been quieter.

Wayve is now by far and away the best-funded AV startup in Europe now, with the next on the list being compatriot Conigital, which picked up a £400m Series A last September — taking its total funding to $531m. Sweden’s Einride has raised $354m and the UK’s Oxa has picked up $231m. 

It’s a statement deal for the UK, too — which has been trying to position itself politically as an AI hub in recent times. 

UK prime minister Rishi Sunak said the deal “anchors the UK’s position as an AI superpower”.

Early days

While the huge round comes following huge advancements in what's possible with AI, the big challenge for Europe’s nascent AV sector will now be to commercialise its tech — something that most companies are still puzzling out.

In the near term, Wayve is looking to work with car makers which are keen to add automated driving features to their vehicles. “Longer-term, we'll see autonomous mobility solutions like fully automated robotaxis and delivery fleets,” said Dagan.


“For every AV company in Europe (and the world), there is a big sense of urgency to start generating revenues,” Hendrik Kramer, founder of German AV startup Fernride, told Sifted in April. “In the next couple of years, we will see that there will be winners and losers in the industry.”

It’s still early days, and who those winners and losers will be remains to be seen — but Wayve has taken a big step towards the former with this raise.

Kai Nicol-Schwarz

Kai Nicol-Schwarz is a reporter at Sifted. He covers UK tech and healthtech, and can be found on X and LinkedIn