Moralwhich provides autonomous vehicle developers with automotive simulation tools to verify the safety and reliability of autonomous driving systems, today announced that it has raised $20.8 million (25 billion KRW) in a Series B funding round as wants to increase its global presence, specifically in the US, Germany, Japan and Singapore.
The new capital was led by Korea Investment Partners, along with KB Investment and Korea Development Bank. Existing investors Naver D2 Startup Factory, Hyundai Motor Group, Kakao Ventures and Atinum Investment also participated in the round. This brings its total funding raised to date to $24.9 million (30 billion KRW).
The South Korea-based startup, which has 84 employees, will also use the proceeds to double its number of employees worldwide by the end of this year, Morai CEO Jiwon Jung told Ploonge.
Three co-founders, Jung, Jun Hong and Sugwan Lee, founded the company in 2018 to build autonomous driving simulation platforms that allow autonomous vehicle manufacturers to simulate real-world driving tests.
Many autonomous vehicle companies use repetitive simulation tests to prove safety and reliability for the validation of their autonomous vehicles.
Morai’s simulator solution, called Morai SIM, offers users a variety of virtual test scenarios with its high definition (HD) map-based 3D simulation environments. One of Morai’s most unique features is its large-scale simulation platforms enabled by digital twin technology, a digital replica of an object in the physical world, Morai Hong co-founder and CTO told Ploonge. Morai SIM has already replicated more than 20 cities around the world.
In January, at CES 2022, Morai unveiled the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model of its Morai SIM, also known as Morai SIM Cloud, which allows users to perform simulation tests in the cloud without the process of installing any software on your local computers. As a result, users can test an AV driver in a variety of sandboxes, regardless of the hardware they operate on.
Morai serves more than 100 enterprise customers, including Hyundai Mobis, Hyundai AutoEver, Naver Labs and 42dot, and research institutions Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), Korea Automotive Technology Institute (KATech) and the Korean Transportation Safety Authority . It has also created partnerships with a number of global companies such as Nvidia, Ansys and Space.
Jung said the company has considerable growth potential because its simulation platforms can be applied to autonomous driving and other areas such as urban air mobility (UAM), logistics and smart cities.
The startup reported $1.7 million in revenue in 2021, increasing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 226% from 2018 to 2021. Last year, Morai set up its US office in San Francisco.
“We will direct all our energy to enhance our technological edge to further enhance our global competitiveness in the autonomous vehicle simulation platform,” said Jung.
“Morai’s simulator technology is designed to play a critical role in enhancing the safety and functionality of self-driving cars,” said KunHo Kim, CEO of Korea Investment Partners. “We look forward to seeing the company continue to grow as it has the potential to lead the self-driving market not just in Korea but globally.”