Amazon Acquires Zoox, An African Led Self-Driving Start-Up

Tech giant, Amazon, has reportedly acquired self-driving start-up Zoox for an amount of 1.2 Billion Dollars.

Both companies announced officially that they had signed a “definitive merger agreement” which leads to Amazon acquiring stakes in Zoox. This gives Amazon significant control of the California-based company which has been exploring self-driving technology for some years now.

“Zoox is working to imagine, invent, and design a world-class autonomous ride-hailing experience,” Amazon’s CEO for Worldwide Consumer, Jeff Wilke said. “Like Amazon, Zoox is passionate about innovation and about its customers, and we’re excited to help the talented Zoox team to bring their vision to reality in the years ahead.”

Speaking on the acquisition by Amamzon, Zoox CEO, Aicha Evans said that, “this acquisition solidifies Zoox’s impact on the autonomous driving industry. We have made great strides with our purpose-built approach to safe, autonomous mobility, and our exceptionally talented team working every day to realize that vision. We now have an even greater opportunity to realize a fully autonomous future.”

According to an official statement by Amazon, Zoox CEO, Aicha and Co-Founder/CTO, Jessie Levingson will remain at the helm of affairs to lead Zoox’s new charge. Even though an official acquisition amount has not been disclosed, the Financial Times estimates that the deal should be worth around the $1 billion figure.

Zoox was founded in 2014 with a mission to build an ecosystem of self-driving vehicles in the robo-taxi market. The company foresees a future where consumers will request rides or vehicles on their devices or gadgets and these vehicles will pull up without a driver. Before Amazon’s acquisition, Zoox had raised a total of $955 million in funding.

Aicha Evans giving Keynote Address at GHC 19

The purchase puts Amazon in a position where it now gets to compete with other tech giants like Alphabet and General Motors that have long built roots in the autonomous vehicle industry. It is expected that this acquisition move by Amazon could cut the company’s delivery expense by as much as $20 billion, according to Morgan Stanley.

Aicha Evans joined Zoox in February 2019 as CEO after a splendid career at Intel. She was the Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer where she was responsible for shaping the company’s long-term strategy at the company before she left to join Zoox.

Aicha now joins an elite group of black women whose startups have been acquired by multi-billion dollar companies. Some others to mention are Jewel Burks Solomon whose company Partpic was also purchased by Amazon and Juanita Lott who sold her Bridgestream Software company to Oracle in 2007.

There have been other successful exits by black women in tech businesses such as, Travel Noire founder Zim Ugochukwu who sold her company to Blavity in 2017, and the founder of Pathbrite, Heather Hiles, who raised over $12 million before her company was finally acquired by Cengage Learning in 2015.

Main Image: Aicha Evans, CEO of Zoox Photo from pitchbook

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Random African

Random African loves writing about the African continent. He is consistently in touch with happenings in every part of the continent and derives joy from providing fresh and crisp information for his audience.

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