Lots Of Luminar

Introducing Iris on Vimeo

Luminar has been busy with a lot of announcements. Today, they reported preliminary (unaudited) 2020 financial results. 2020 revenue was $14 million, 2021 revenue is projected at $25-30 million, and the “forward-looking order book” is $1.3 billion. That’s an amazing growth curve, so much so that I’d like to understand the timeline and certainty of that $1.3 billion order book.

They also announced a big win this morning with SAIC, the Chinese automotive giant. SAIC will put Luminar’s Iris sensors in a large segment of its future vehicles.

Yesterday, Luminar published a high-quality 4-minute YouTube video entitled, “The Path to Series Production: Q1 Update.” That term – “series production” – is a phrase Luminar CEO Austin Russell emphasizes frequently, distinguishing Luminar from competitors who are still largely working on pilot projects with automakers.

Last week, Luminar held a joint event with Zenseact CEO Ödgärd Andersson to announce their partnership on full-stack self-driving software. Zenseact is Volvo’s self-driving spin-out, and Volvo is Luminar’s first and soonest major customer.

For all that, Luminar shares ended the day down about 4%. Tough crowd, Wall Street.

Startup Watch: Blackmore

A startup called Blackmore just raised a few million dollars to miniaturize sensors for autonomous vehicles.

A few interesting points about Blackmore:

  1. They want to embed lidar in the grill of a car. This seems like a difficult vantage point, since the sensor won’t have a 360-degree view of the environment.
  2. They plan to deliver prototypes next summer.
  3. Based on their website, they seem to target two markets: autonomous vehicles and the military.
  4. They’re based in Bozeman, Montana, which is a great town, but hardly a tech hub. Given the cost of housing in Silicon Valley, though, I’m tempted to apply for a job there right now.