Driverless car company Pony.ai hires JP Morgan Executive as its first CFO

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

VCG | Visual China Group | Getty Images

GUANGZHOU, China – Driverless car company Pony.ai has hired Lawrence Steyn, currently Vice Chairman of Investment Banking at JPMorgan, as its first chief financial officer.

The start-up, which operates in the US and China, said Steyn’s hiring would help the company “grow commercially and deploy globally.”

When startups hire CFOs, it can often point to a later IPO.

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

In November, Pony.ai raised $ 267 million, valued at $ 5.3 billion. The company competes with Waymo, the self-driving car subsidiary of Google’s parent company Alphabet.

Pony.ai makes autonomous driving systems that it can sell to automakers. It tests so-called robotic taxis or driverless taxis in California and the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou.

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Earlier this year, Pony.ai received approval from the California Department of Motor Vehicles to test fully autonomous cars without safety drivers. Pony.ai plans to launch its fully driverless robotaxi service to the general public in Irvine, California in 2022.

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

Steyn will join the team to “take responsibility for providing full autonomy on a large scale,” Pony.ai said in a press release.