Welcome to this episode of The Friday 5 with Steve Greenfield, Founder and CEO of Automotive Ventures, an auto technology advisory firm that helps entrepreneurs raise money and maximize the value of their companies.
Before we get started this week, I’m excited to announce the winners of the Shell Startup Showdown, a joint effort between Automotive Ventures and Shell Lubricants, the world’s #1 lubricants supplier for the past 15 years.
The Startup Showdown awards funds to automotive technology companies that are innovating in the areas of mobility, customer experience, net-zero emissions, and new energies.
This year, 4.screen took home this year’s top honors and was awarded $35,000. 4.screen is an API-based platform that enables local businesses and global brands to communicate in real-time with drivers.
Cinch was the competition’s runner-up and received $15,000. The company is a data science and low-code, no-code automation platform that brings together a company’s data from many different sources, cleans and normalizes the data, runs data models, and allows users to easily and quickly use this data to drive revenue.
Congratulations to both 4.Screen and Cinch for winning the Shell Startup Showdown.
And with that, let’s get right into this week’s AutoTech deals.
First up this week, Automotive Ventures has made our latest investment into Mobile parking and ticket paying platform Meter Feeder, as the company raised a $2.6 million seed extension round.
The company services payment collection for all metered locations of the Pittsburgh Parking Authority in addition to surface lots and other metered locations for parking-related organizations around the country.
Trucks VC led the round with its $2 million investment, with additional participation from Precursor Ventures and Automotive Ventures.
Next up this week, Elon Musk’s tunneling startup The Boring Company has raised $675 million in a funding round led by Vy Capital and Sequoia Capital. Other investors participating in the round include Valor Equity Partners, Founders Fund, 8VC, Craft Ventures, and DFJ Growth.
The round values the startup at $5.675 billion.
Boring aims to “solve traffic” by building transportation networks in tunnels deep underground. The company already has a tunnel system in place at the Las Vegas Convention Center and ferried around passengers at the CES conference earlier this year.
The company aims to expand in other cities in the coming years, and said it would use the new funding to “significantly increase hiring.”
Next up this week, CYTK, the first Artificial Intelligence mobile application for the Automotive Repair and Maintenance Service Industry that enables Technicians to perform their work quickly, safely, and with a higher degree of accuracy – announced it has raised over $3 million in Angel funding, with Hike Ventures as the lead investor.
Angel investors and advisors include Automotive icons such as Les Silver, former CEO of Identifix and Chairman of Dynatron, Ron Frey, former Chief Strategy Officer for CDK Global and AutoNation, and Mario Recchia, former Senior Vice President of Marketing for WorldPac – a subsidiary of Advance Auto Parts. Also included in CYTK’s Angel round are senior technology and business leaders from Amazon, Oracle, and IBM.
Next up this week, FreeWire Technologies has raised $125 million from investors including asset manager BlackRock to increase supply of its electric-vehicle chargers.
FreeWire makes chargers that include embedded batteries for energy storage, a feature that the company says brings down costs and easily integrates with existing electric grids.
The batteries and its software will enable FreeWire to also function as a clean-energy storage and services business. That will allow customers such as gas stations to manage their electricity usage and send excess power back to the grid.
FreeWire is one of several companies working to increase access to fast electric-car charging, one of the main barriers to making the vehicles more mainstream.
The $125 million investment brings FreeWire’s total financing in its roughly eight-year history to about $225 million and will be used to boost manufacturing capacity.
And finally this week, Hagerty, the publicly-listed automotive lifestyle brand and a leading specialty insurance provider focused on the global automotive enthusiast market, announced the acquisition of Speed Digital, an industry-leading provider of cloud-based technology solutions for dealers, auction houses, collectors, and enthusiasts.
Speed Digital software processed approximately $1.5 billion in collector car sales in 2021 and the overall network of websites received over 300 million page views during that same period.
Companies To Watch
Every week we highlight interesting companies in the automotive technology space to keep an eye on. If you read my monthly industry Intel Report, I showcase a few companies each month, and we take the opportunity here on the Friday Five to share some of those companies each week with you.
Today, we have two companies to watch: RideCo and Assured.
Our first Company to watch this week is RideCo.
RideCo is an on-demand transit technology and services company that enables on-demand ridesharing for transit agencies in cities around the globe.
RideCo partners with transit agencies and experienced fleet operators to design, simulate, launch and operate on-demand transit services and have launched services with some of the largest agencies in North America.
Check out RideCo at www.rideco.com.
Our second company to watch this week is Assured.
Assured’s Claims Intelligence Platform helps ingest and augment structured claims data and empowers good decisions.
By integrating more than 50 external data sources, and then intelligently surfacing the most pressing data points to the insurance adjuster, Assured enables better informed and more consistent decisions to be made in record time.
Check out Assured at www.assured.claims.
So that’s your weekly Friday 5, a quick wrap-up of the big deals in the automotive technology space over the past week.
If you’re an early-stage automotive technology entrepreneur looking to raise money, or an entrepreneur who is trying to decide whether and when they should raise money or sell their business, I’d love to speak with you.
Thank you for tuning into CBT News for this week’s Friday Five, and we’ll see you next week!
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