Self-driving Car Startup Oryx Raises $50 Million

Fundraising round comes as Intel announces completion of acquisition of Mobileye

Israeli startup Oryx Vision CEO Rani Wellingstein, left, and CTO David Ben-Bassat. Oryx Vision develops object sensors for self-driving cars.

Oryx Vision, an Israeli startup that develops object sensors for self-driving cars, announced on Tuesday that it has raised $50 million – further evidence that Israel’s auto-tech industry is garnering worldwide attention and investment.

The fundraising round, the third for the company, was led by Third Point Ventures and Walden Riverwood Ventures. Union Tech Ventures, and existing investors Bessemer Venture Partners, Maniv Mobility, and Trucks VC also participated in the round, Oryx said.

The new infusion of capital comes just 10 months after Oryx Vision secured $17 million. CEO Rani Wellingstein said the company hadn’t used all the money from its previous round, but “jumped at the opportunity” to raise more for the future. He declined to provide a valuation for the latest round.

Israel’s auto-tech industry captured the world’s attention earlier this year when Intel agreed to buy Mobileye, a maker of collision-prevention and self-driving-vehicle technology, for $15.3 billion. Coincidentally, on Tuesday Intel announced it had completed the acquisition.

“The combination of Intel and Mobileye will allow Mobileye’s leading computer vision expertise (the 'eyes') to complement Intel’s high-performance computing and connectivity expertise (the 'brains') to create automated driving solutions from cloud to car,” Intel said. The company estimated that the vehicle systems, data and services market could be worth $70 billion by 2030.

Mobileye shares will cease trading in New York on August 21.

Oryx said it would use the new funds to accelerate research and development, and to step up collaboration with auto-component makers, suppliers and other technology companies. Oryx started working on its own prototype six years ago and expects to begin to ship units suitable for testing on cars in the second half of next year.

Building on existing LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology, Oryx Vision’s solution enables autonomous vehicles to identify debris and other objects on the road. Unlike rival LiDAR systems, the company’s technology does not rely on any moving parts; instead, it uses antennas in place of photodetectors to retrieve information from the points of light.

“This gives the system a higher detection capability by several orders of magnitude, shields it from interference from sunlight and other transmitters, and enables it to produce for each point in the picture not only information about distance but also speed and direction,” said CEO Wellingstein.

Oryx was founded in 2009 by Wellingstein and Chief Technology Officer David Ben-Bassat. Ben-Bassat served six years in an Israel Defense Forces technology unit and was a founder of the startup RFWaves. Wellingstein previously founded Intucell, which was sold to Cisco for $475 million four years ago.