Nearly a year after DoorDash's watershed IPO, competition in the delivery market has only intensified.

More than $21 billion in global VC investment was plowed into last-mile delivery startups in the first three quarters of 2021, on pace to surpass a record set in 2018, according to PitchBook data.

More disruption may be on the way: Robotic delivery specialist Nuro has raised $600 million on the belief that robots will supplant the small armies of delivery workers that currently power the sector.
  • Nuro was valued at $8.6 billion in the deal, TechCrunch reported, up from $5 billion earlier this year, according to PitchBook data.

  • Tiger Global led the round, adding Nuro to a list of bets on food delivery that also includes Zomato, Postmates and Grofers. Google joined the round and struck a deal to have Nuro's self-driving data and machine learning workloads run on Google Cloud.
  • Nuro's core advantage is a passenger-free design that allows it to prioritize pedestrians or other vehicles in its safety decisions, said Asad Hussain, an emerging tech analyst at PitchBook. The company also benefits from strategic partnerships with FedEx, CVS and Walmart, among others.
  • Bay Area-based Nuro is preparing for the mainstream rollout of its delivery service, which will follow the completion of its third-generation vehicle and a new manufacturing facility in Nevada.

Feature image courtesy of Nuro

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