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Cyngn CEO Lior Tal Interviews with TD Ameritrade Network

Luke Renner |





Nicole Petallides: It is time now for the 360 spotlight, and we focus on Cyngn, which IPOs today. Chairman and CEO, Lior Tal, is with us to tell us more about this company. I'm glad you're with us to tell us all about this company. We think autonomous, but you're doing it in a way that's a little different than we're used to. Tell us a little bit about your company.

Lior Tal: Nicole, thank you for having me on board. So, you know, when we think about autonomous driving, it's one of these technologies that really comes once in a generation, in the way it can reshape the world. But we all think about open roads and robo-taxis and even more recently if you look at the Curiosity Rover space exploration. Where autonomous driving is really going to start making a significant and more immediate impact is in the industrial world. And that's everything from manufacturing, distribution, logistics, even construction mining. Now at Cyngn, we've been building for the last several years, the software that can drive the wide spectrum of these vehicles.

And as we're getting ready now, from developing it and testing it over many different vehicle types and we're getting ready to put it in customers, we thought it's also a great opportunity to also evolve the company itself and take it out there to the next level. 

Nicole Petallides: Right, and these are vehicle technologies. You have your flagship innovation, Drive Mod, which is the autonomous driving solution. This is where you use this in warehouses, on-site work equipment, things like that, industrial, commercial. This is what we should think about when we think of Cyngn.

Lior Tal: Right.

Nicole Petallides: What should we not think about? What are you not, so that we don't confuse your goals.

Lior Tal: That's a great question. So our line is between the industrial and the passenger world. We focus on a wide spectrum of different industries. What we don't do is passenger vehicles, robo-taxis, highway trucks- I think they're great companies working on that for us. I think the big opportunity is if you follow the headlines and you see what's happening recently, things like shortage of labor, safety issues, things that industries are really struggling with, as we see post-pandemic, or are we trying to reestablish back the productivity companies have been struggling [with].

Nicole Petallides: So as we look at these going forward for your company, right, and the world of autonomous, what are we going to be talking about for Cyngn in five years? In ten years?

Lior Tal: We are a software and data company, and we do what we do very well. And one of the things that really makes us different is the fact that we are not trying to build vehicles and find and build a full solution. We work with the industry and we work with great partners like the Columbia Vehicle Group that will allow their best vehicles to have our best offer on it and together we can go with these customers, the Fortune 100 across these different industries. 

Now, if you really fast forward and you look at it over time, we think of ourselves as an applied autonomy company, which means we want our technology to be in the hands of customers. I imagine the day where you walk around airports and ports and factories and you see our software driving a wide variety of different vehicles and really solving these big problems they're facing today. 

Nicole Petallides: Right, so autonomous vehicles in these production environments and you have this software. Do you have partnerships or do you think that's going to be an important part of growth? I mean, how are you going to grow?

Lior Tal: So, like I said, we are a software company. We find that the best way to get to the best product is to work with the companies that already have these components in place. For example, I mentioned the Columbia Vehicle Group. They have the best vehicles out there that the customers like, they have the service networks and they can support these vehicles. Now, you add our software, you have a superior product. 

But around that, we have a whole ecosystem of different partnerships that we work with. Beyond the vehicle and hardware, we work with technology companies, we work with logistics and support companies. So, at the end of the day, to really scale up something like this to a wide variety of industries and allow us to remain a software and data company, the go-to market really involves that collaboration with the ecosystem. And that's what you're going to see from us in the following months, more and more of these partnerships maturing and more of these early pilots with these partners and customers coming to fruition and really starting to demonstrate the value of this technology.

Nicole Petallides: I think one reason people run to Jackson Hole and Davos and all these places for all these big meetings, is because they want to know what the CEOs are really talking about. And I think you are right in the center of a most important conversation and those issues are supply chain bottlenecks, particularly for cheaps, and also labor. And you mentioned labor earlier. So as a CEO, chairman and CEO of Cyngn, and you talk about all your partnerships with all these tech companies and all kinds of companies that you work with.

What are they saying about 2022? How optimistic or pessimistic are you and the conversations that you're having with other leaders?

Lior Tal: 2020 was a difficult year and people were really concerned and didn't really know where things are trending. What we are seeing this year is a lot of companies are embracing the fact that the world is changing and that things are not going to return to the way they were, right? And technologies like this automation and the ability to really be able to streamline operations even when people can’t come to work. I think these are the things that people are actually doubling down and do keep investing in because you never know how long this is going to last and when the next one is going to be.

So, I think when you talk about things like cheap shortages, one of the things that I think we did well from the beginning is we developed the system in a way that allows us to work on practically any hardware out there, which means we can work with off the shelf components over time as these things scale up and these shortages are going to get unblocked and things are going to resume. Then, of course, there's going to be more investment there. But what we see is companies really starting to think about the future and getting out of that state that last year defined.

Nicole Petallides: Yeah. and you talk about some of them doubling down just to make sure that they don't run into the same sort of problems. What a great conversation. Cyngn, C-Y-N, the IPO today. Congratulations, Lior Tlo, Chairman CEO, to you and your team on this IPO, Cyngn. Great to have you on and come back with some updates soon. Thanks.

Lior Tal: Thank you very much. Nicole. Have a great day.

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