b'92software and hardware expertise, as well as how to work with a global automaker. And so we started negotiations with them. In many ways, VW is the perfect complement to Ford. Although obviously competitors, VW was more promi-nent in the European and Chinese markets, allowing Argo AI to expand its potential deployment onto new conti-nents. Adding VW also meant expanding testing capabil-ities, with the Argo SDS gaining invaluable insights into driver behaviors, regulations, and infrastructure in Eu-ropean cities. Announcing the partnership in July 2019, Argo AI and VW disclosed that in addition to a financial investment, Argo AI would acquire VWs self-driving di-vision and its 200-plus employees in Munich. Just three Volkswagens assembly line in short weeks after the deal was closed in June 2020, both Zwickau, Germany. companies, prompted by a rush to beat Europes sum-mer holiday schedule, had to organize and implement a paired-up team structure, ready to go to work. Crafting the logistics and legal aspects of such large-scale collaborations is anything but easy; while partner-Even before Argo AIbecame a company in 2016,ponents at scale. And they have a deep understanding ofship announcements are festive affairs, what you dont cofounders Bryan Salesky and Peter Rander were think- the rules and regulations of U.S. Federal Motor Vehiclesee at the press conferences and within the media cover-ing hard about partnerships. They were convinced thatSafety Standards (FMVSS), the federal regulations spec- age is the grunt work that goes into partnering with two of if their new company was to succeed and scale globally,ifying design, construction, performance, and durabilitythe largest automotive companies in the world. The pro-they could not go it alone.requirements for cars. Argo could benefit greatly from le- cess can be strenuous and costly, involving negotiations Salesky and Rander had a powerful vision: to go toveraging those skill sets. The automakers, in turn, couldand balancing multiple market with automaker partners that were proven, trust- entrust Argo with creating the hardware and softwareinterests. But the intri-worthy leaders in the industry and who had a track re- tech stackthe robotics and artificial intelligence sys- cacy and nuance of the cord for producing safe, durable, and consumer-belovedtems that Argo AI was built to master. processonlyfuelsthe vehicles. This strategy also aligned with Argo AIs foun- In 2017, the long-dreamed-of partnership became amotivation to seek out dational business model, one less reliant on venture cap- reality when Ford Motor Company made a $1 billion in- new partnerships in the ital investments in favor of more lasting and sustainablevestment in Argo. Ford and Argo are cultural fits, saysfuture:Wecantstop commitments from partners that would be fully investedHeyer. Ford has built its reputation over the course ofhere;inordertowinFords Chicago in the journey. Considering the long nature of this game120 years. They want to put safe products out there. Theylong-term, you want toAssembly Plant in and technology, the traditional venture capitalist modelunderstand the urgency, but safety is always the most im- beineverysinglecarIllinois.isnt the only path to raising money, says Joe Heyer, Ar- portant thing.andautomatingevery gos Vice President of Capital Markets and Growth.Envisioning the ultimate global scale of safe self-driv- single mile, says Busi-For Argo, it was important to maintain its identity anding technology, Salesky and Rander knew from the be- nessStrategyManager Top left:Stephan Floss, Courtesy of Volkswagen. to stay the course, partnering with those who could offerginning that theyd need to partner with more than oneRob Park. expertise in safety, manufacturing, logistics, and other ar- automaker. So, shortly after closing the deal with Ford, aIndeed,overthe eas crucial to bringing their vision to fruition. Creating anew search was underfoot, led by Cynthia Kwon, Argospast three years, Argo AI has been securing its future by self-driving car is really hard to do, particularly at scale,VicePresidentofStrategyandBusinessDevelopmentpartnering with automakers and suppliers whose values, says Rander, now President of Argo AI. We asked our- (read more about her on page 14). Kwon oversaw a mutu- vision, and passions center around making self-driving selves, what do we truly excel at?al courtship with the German automotive giant Volkswa- technology a reality. In fact, partnerships like these have The answer, then as now, is the technology platformgen. Once again, Argos mission and the automakers ex- been critical to Argos success, underscoring one of the powering self-driving vehicles: the eyes, ears, and brainspectations had to go through a rigorous and competitivecompanys core values, We I, since day one. By seeking of self-driving vehicles. But behind the decision to col- process. And this time, it was a complex three-party dis- out companies that have the experience, facilities, and laborate with major automakers was a set of pragmaticcussion, with Argo and both automakers, Ford and VW,processes of vehicle manufacturing already in place, Argo values. Automakers already have the expertise involved inworking to ensure that any deal balanced the needs andAI is solidifying its seat at the head of the table, ensuring developing a vehicle. Their assembly lines are well-oiled.wants of all three parties. Eventually, says Kwon, Volk- that its cutting-edge technology is wedded to time-trust-They have proven supplier relationships to source com- swagen determined that Argo was the top in terms ofed, result-driven partners. FullBook_Mar24.indb 92 4/25/21 6:43 PM'