Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs Offshoot Is Now a Unicorn

Sidewalk Labs

After Alphabet abandoned plans to construct its own city and shut down the company that was in control of this project, some former workers are carrying on the legacy of the company. Bloomberg reports

Their company, Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners LLC, is currently working on ambitious infrastructure projects, such as the creation of roads designed for autonomous vehicles, a vast smart grid project , and the application of technology that will help cities create five-G networks. The company announced on Wednesday that it is scheduled to announce that it has raised the sum of $400 million through StepStone Group Inc., an investment firm in the private market that focuses on infrastructure. The deal puts the value of the business, which is known as SIP, at $1.25 billion, according to an individual who is familiar with the terms and would prefer not to be identified since they’re private.

The idea behind SIP originated from Sidewalk Labs, the smart-city company that Google launched in the year 2015. The most prominent project of Sidewalk Labs was Quayside, a project to create a 12 acre location located in Toronto to showcase innovative urban concepts that are high-tech. A complete city design was a sensible option to allow Google’s parent firm to test the limits of urban innovation, stated Jonathan Winer, SIP’s co-founder and co-chief executive officer. But, “There were a number of infrastructure systems that required modernization now, not in 10 years’ time,” Winer explained. In the year 2019, he, along with many other Sidewalk employees, quit to create SIP with the intention of constructing large, technologically advanced projects. Alphabet as well as Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP) funded SIP as the only investors.

[…] SIP has been structured in a unique way for a start-up company that operates as a kind of venture capital company and at other times as an operator who builds projects for itself. Winer stated that this permits it to take on a wider variety of initiatives. One of them is a 40-mile stretch of road that runs between Detroit and Ann Arbor, Michigan, specifically designed for connected and autonomous vehicles. Michigan’s state administration announced the project in 2020, and Winer stated that the first section of the road will be open later in the coming year. Winer is currently in discussions with other states regarding similar plans, he said.

SIP has also invested $100 million in a project in California that utilises smart thermostats and plugs that reward customers for cutting their energy consumption during times of high demand. The majority of SIP’s activities involve working with the government. […] is not the only thing that SIP does. In the same way, it is an investor. Alphabet has been a key participant in various SIP projects. Waymo, the company’s autonomous car unit, has been appointed to the advisory panel for the Michigan highway project. Google’s Nest thermostats are part of that California program. “We greatly benefit from the technology and insights of Alphabet,” said Winer. “And some of that insight can translate into a commercial transaction.”

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