Autonomous Vehicle Lidar Sensor Company Ouster Raises Over $60 Million

By Noah Long ● March 31, 2019

Ouster, a San Francisco-based leading provider of high-resolution lidar sensors used for autonomous vehicles, robotics, and mapping, announced it raised more than $60 million in funding and now has a roster of over 400 customers. Ouster also opened a new manufacturing facility that is producing hundreds of sensors every month.

The customers range across a wide range of industries including robotics, defense, agriculture, etc. and each one has a set of unique requirements. Ouster’s 3D sensors are smaller, lighter, more durable, and less expensive than other solutions. The company also has 2-3 week lead times for sensor delivery and transparent pricing.

This additional $60 million in equity and debt funding was provided by Runway Growth Capital and Silicon Valley Bank. And the company also raised additional funding from existing investors Cox Enterprises, Constellation Tech Ventures, Fontinalis Partners, Carthona, and others. This funding helped Ouster develop a number of product lines including the launch of the OS-1-128 lidar sensor along with the expansion of its production facilities.

“The momentum we’re seeing in our business is driven by the demand we’re seeing in the market for customers wanting to push the performance frontier. It’s amazing that just a year ago we could count our customers on one hand, and now over 400 engineering teams around the world are using Ouster’s sensors to build new industries and re-shape old ones,” said Ouster CEO Angus Pacala in a statement. “It’s humbling to know that this demand exists – it motivates us every day to deliver for our customers.”

The aforementioned manufacturing center was opened at the company’s headquarters in San Francisco. The facility includes space for about a hundred manufacturing staff, reliability, quality assurance equipment, and sensor calibration employees. And the manufacturing facility will have the capacity to assemble, calibrate, and ship several thousand sensors per month by the end of the year.

Ouster also announced it appointed Susan Heystee to the board of directors. Heystee is going to contribute to corporate governance as she draws from her background in scaling companies from tens to thousands of employees. Prior to joining Ouster, Heystee was a Senior Vice President of Verizon’s Global Automotive business and Executive Vice President of Sales at Telogis. While working at Telogis, Heystee help grow the startup into one of the dominant players in the connected vehicle/smart mobility market. And Verizon acquired the company in 2016.

“I’m thankful for the opportunity to share my expertise and skills with the leading lidar company poised for growth and one highly focused on bringing 3D sensing to the masses,” added Heystee. “I look forward to working with Ouster’s talented management team to extend the company’s market leadership.”

Another notable hire Ouster made is Myra Pasek. Pasek used to be the Associate General Counsel of Tesla and General Counsel of Impossible Foods.

Launched in late 2017, Ouster has so far announced 4 lidar sensors with resolutions ranging from 16 to 128 channels and the company released two product lines including the OS-1 and OS-2. The company started out as a 4-person team working out of a tiny warehouse three years ago and now it has over 100 full-time employees working in engineering, operations, business development, and marketing. In the coming year, Ouster is planning to further its product line development and meet the global demand for its high-resolution lidar sensors.