LiDAR sensor developer Ouster announces $27 million series A fundraise


A company called Ouster that is developing LiDAR sensors for autonomous vehicles has announced a $27 million series A fundraise led by Cox Enterprises.

Ouster would like to provide an affordable alternative to more expensive LiDAR sensors, so the company has developed its first product, a 64-channel LiDAR sensor called OS1, which will be priced at $12,000.

Ouster says that besides being a more affordable option in comparison to its competition, OS1 is also “dramatically lighter, smaller, and uses less power than other competitors.”

“Our long term vision is to push LiDAR from being a research product to being in every consumer automobile,” says Ouster Co-Founder and CEO Angus Pacala, via TechCrunch.

Ouster has been focusing on improving the sensor’s performance, while also lowering its sticker price, which has proved to be a unique challenge. Pacala emphasized that technology “wasn’t the entire solution” in regards to this.

“While we can talk about the nitty-gritty of technology, the other side is not just the fundamental technology, but the design for manufacturability that really makes this lower cost while maintaining the performance” of the sensor, Pacala explains.

This was one of the reasons that Pacala selected the venture partners he did, as the other participants in the fundraise included Fontinalis, Amity Ventures, Constellation Technology Ventures, Tao Capital Partners, and Carthona Capital.

“This isn’t just a typical list of Sand Hill investors,” Pacala states. “There is a time and place for those sort of investors, but we saw an opportunity to expand our reach by having investors who are much more attuned to the auto industry.”

With the new year on the horizon, Ouster plans on hitting the ground running starting in January, with a goal of manufacturing a thousand units a month during the first month of the year. By the end of June, the company hopes that it’ll be manufacturing ten thousand units a month.

While these goals might seem lofty, Pacala is confident that they can be met.

“We have delivered first and then talked second, which is why you haven’t heard anything about us until now,” Pacala says.