Nikola Chairman In Talks To Back Self-Driving Truck Maker TuSimple: Report

Nikola Corporation’s NKLA freshly-appointed chairman, Steve Girsky, is looking to back self-driving truck maker TuSimple, TechCrunch reported Sunday.

What Happened: Girsky would be funding the investment from his consulting and investment firm VectoIQ LLC, run in partnership with managing partner Mary Chan, people familiar with the matter told TechCrunch.

Girsky’s firm would reportedly be a part of a consortium of investors and the deal is likely to close in mid-October.

In July, TuSimple announced a two-year partnership with transport-vehicle manufacturer Navistar International Corporation NAV for the sale of its autonomous vehicles through the latter’s channels. 

Volkswagen AG VWAGY subsidiary Traton Group also signed a partnership to develop self-driving trucks with TuSimple and picked up a minority stake in the autonomous-vehicle company last week. 

Why It Matters: TuSimple is already backed by Sina Corporation SINA, United Parcel Service, Inc UPS, and Mando Corp. It has raised a total of $298.1 million in eight funding rounds, as per Crunchbase.

In June, it was reported that TuSimple was looking to raise up to $250 million in fresh funding and hired Morgan Stanley MS for helping it secure the capital.

The autonomous vehicle maker's revenue is reportedly short of the projections it made in 2016. TuSimple estimated at the time it would rake in $284 million revenue in 2020 and $1 billion in 2021 from its U.S. operations.

Girsky replaced Trevor Milton as Nikola Executive Chairman on Sept. 21 following fraud allegations at the automaker. He previously served as vice-chairman at General Motors Co. GM.

Short-seller Hindenburg Research had made allegations of intricate fraud soon after a deal between GM and Nikola was announced.

Photo courtesy: TuSimple

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