By Greg Bensinger
LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. -- The largest companies with the aim of creating self-driving vehicles will probably acquire smaller ones rather than develop the technology in-house, said Niklas Zennstrom, founder and chief executive of venture firm Atomico Ventures.
"It's really hard for an incumbent to transition themselves into a technology company," Mr. Zennstrom said Tuesday at the WSJDLive 2016 global technology conference here. "You'll see more and more acquisitions."
There have been some signs of consolidation already. General Motors Co. this year bought Cruise Automation Inc. for around $1 billion and invested $500 million into Lyft Inc. with the goal of introducing self-driving cars as soon as next year.
Stephen Jurvetson, partner at venture firm DFJ, said on the same panel that Tesla Motors Inc.'s release of its own driver-assistance software known as Autopilot pushed other companies to consider entering the self-driving vehicle market.
Earlier at the conference, Lyft President John Zimmer said he expects autonomous vehicles to represent the majority of trips on the ride-hailing service.
Separately, when asked about the regulatory and operational troubles of blood-testing firm Theranos Inc., in which DFJ was an early investor, Mr. Jurvetson said, "There is not much we can do when they fail." Mr. Jurvetson said his firm has had little day-to-day dealings with Theranos.
Mr. Jurvetson chided The Wall Street Journal for its "ad nauseam" coverage of the Silicon Valley company over the past year, saying it was "relishing" Theranos's struggles.
A Dow Jones spokesman said: "The Journal is proud of our award winning coverage on Theranos, which has engendered significant reader support."
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