Luminar and more powered Orlando venture capital activity to a banner year (by Alex Soderstrom)

‘Momentum to continue’

That strong fourth-quarter performance powered 2020 to one of the best recent years for local venture capital activity.

More than half of the $325 million raised last year came from $184 million that investors injected into Luminar Technologies Inc. as part of its merger with Gores Metropoulos Inc. Luminar, an Orlando-based maker of autonomous vehicle sensors, merged with the Beverly Hills, California-based special-purpose acquisition company and went public in December.

The dollars that flowed into Luminar (Nasdaq: LAZR) due to the investment and merger will help the company move into production mode and deliver its sensors to customers that include automaker Volvo. That will mean a bigger engineering and manufacturing presence in Orlando for Luminar, CEO Austin Russell previously told OBJ. In fact, Luminar has 17 open positions listed on its website.