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Chipotle invests in SoftBank-backed driverless delivery startup Nuro

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(Reuters) - Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc said on Thursday it has invested in autonomous technology company Nuro as part of the startup’s latest funding round, a move that would help the restaurant chain bolster its delivery network.

The investment by Chipotle in the SoftBank-backed Nuro was part of a series C funding round, led by T. Rowe Price Associates, where the startup raised $500 million.

The companies did not disclose the terms of the investment.

Nuro, which uses Prius cars outfitted with its self-driving technology to deliver groceries and prescriptions for Kroger, Walmart and CVS in Houston, late last year got the first-ever permit to commercially deploy its self-driving vehicles in California.

Early in 2019, Nuro raised $940 million from SoftBank and a source close to the company had said the valuation doubled from this last funding round to $5 billion. (reut.rs/3w76guj)

For the fast-casual chain, the investment in Nuro builds on its already strong digital operations that have been a standout in the industry during the COVID-19 pandemic and has helped Chipotle ride out the worst of the impact.

Reporting by Aishwarya Venugopal in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber

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