Early Tesla backer raises $300 mn to fund 'Transformative' startups

    The Westly Group, an early Tesla Inc. investor, raised $300 million to invest in startups focused on transforming industries including energy, transportation and technology.
    By: BLOOMBERG
    | Updated on: Aug 21 2022, 23:16 IST
    startups
    The Westly Group was founded by Steve Westly, an early board member of Tesla. (REUTERS)
    startups
    The Westly Group was founded by Steve Westly, an early board member of Tesla. (REUTERS)

    The Westly Group, an early Tesla Inc. investor, raised $300 million to invest in startups focused on transforming industries including energy, transportation and technology. U.S. power giants Duke Energy Corp. and Vistra Corp. joined Alaska Airlines and State Farm Ventures as anchor investors in the latest fund by the Silicon Valley venture firm, Westley Group said Wednesday in an emailed statement.  Industrial conglomerate ABB Ltd., American Electric Power Company Inc., Hitachi Energy and China Light & Power are also among the 22 companies invested in Fund IV.

    The Westly Group aims to invest in “transformative companies focused on the digitization and sustainability of energy, mobility, buildings, industrial technology, and cybersecurity,” the Menlo Park, California-based firm said. The new fund plans to make investments of $5 million to $15 million in companies to accelerate commercial growth and build partnerships.

    Fund IV has been established as demand for sustainability products and services is expected to rise with a growing number of governments and major companies committing to net-zero emissions targets by mid-century or earlier. The Westly Group was founded by Steve Westly, a former controller and chief financial officer for the state of California and an early board member of Tesla.

    California warns of possible oversight of Tesla tests

    (AFP) California has informed Tesla it is considering stricter regulation of the electric carmaker's driving assistance tools currently being tested on public roads, following videos posted online of disturbing episodes.

    Several clips on YouTube and Twitter show drivers testing Full Self-Driving beta and suddenly having to regain control of their vehicles to prevent their Tesla from hitting a pole or veering into the oncoming lane.

    Tesla has noted the tools require active driver supervision, but the California Department of Motor Vehicles said in a letter to the firm on January 5 it is reviewing whether the features meet the definition of an autonomous vehicle.

    Elon Musk's car company has recruited some motorists for real-conditions tests of FSD beta, which is supposed to be able to drive in the city, stop automatically or make turns.

    California's DMV wrote in its letter that it is revisiting its "classification decision following recent software updates, videos showing dangerous use of that technology and open investigations" from US regulators.

    "DMV will be initiating further review of the latest releases, including any expansion of the program and features," the letter said.

    If the DMV decides to classify Tesla's driver assistance systems as an autonomous vehicle, the rules will be stricter.

    Tesla would, for example, have to report any problems it encounters to the agency and would have to identify all drivers testing its new tools.

    The company did not respond to a request for comment.

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    First Published Date: 13 Jan, 07:51 IST
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