Self-driving car company Pony.ai hires JP Morgan as first CFO

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Pony.ai self-driving cars drive along a road during a test drive on February 1, 2018 in Guangzhou, China.

VCG | China Visual Group | Getty Images

GUANGZHOU, China – Driverless car company Pony.ai has hired Lawrence Steyn, currently vice president of investment banking at JPMorgan, to be its first CFO.

The start-up, which operates in the United States and China, said hiring Steyn will help the company “grow in business and roll out globally.”

When startups hire CFOs, it can often mean a downright initial public offering.

Pony.ai declined to comment when contacted by CNBC about a possible IPO.

In November, Pony.ai raised $ 267 million, valuing it at $ 5.3 billion. The company is a competitor of Waymo, the self-driving car subsidiary of Google’s parent company, Alphabet.

Pony.ai makes autonomous driving systems that it can sell to car manufacturers. He has tested so-called robotaxis or driverless taxis in California and in the city of Guangzhou in southern China.

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Earlier this year, Pony.ai received a permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles to test fully autonomous cars without the need for a safety driver. Pony.ai plans to roll out its fully driverless robotaxi service to the general public in 2022 in Irvine, California.

Currently, Pony.ai’s robotaxi service is available to the general public in Guangzhou and Irvine, but there is a security driver.

Steyn will join the team to “lead the charge in deploying full scale autonomy,” Pony.ai said in a press release.

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