TuSimple, a prominent developer of self-driving semitrailer trucks that is worth more than $1 billion on paper, said last fall it had secured funding of $215 million from investors. Part of the funding came from U.S. package delivery giant UPS, which that summer also struck a deal to have TuSimple prototype trucks haul packages in Arizona.
Scores of news headlines mentioned UPS’ investment. But new data disclosed privately to TuSimple investors reveal that UPS paid just $2.5 million for a 0.2% stake in the startup. The previously undisclosed TuSimple data, which include details on the stakes held by its 15 biggest shareholders (see table below), reflect a common element of private tech financing announcements: casting high-profile corporate investors as closely aligned financially with the startup even when their investment is tiny.