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.
Well, the final matchup in the Automotive Ventures March Madness contest was a doozy, with KnowSmoke facing off against Shyft Automotive’s Bayley product. YOU got to vote for the early-stage AutoTech company that you thought was most likely to achieve a $1 billion dollar exit someday.
Both Shyft Automotive and KnowSmoke have been past Companies to Watch here on the Friday Five.
Well, you voted and by a VERY thin margin of 1,235 votes to 1,216 votes, KnowSmoke takes the champion round as our 2022 Automotive Ventures March Madness champion.
Congratulations to Nathan Shaver and the entire KnowSmoke team!
Recurrent, the car industry’s leading analyst of electric vehicle battery health, announced it has received an additional $4.5 million dollars to scale Recurrent’s product and further enhance features for corporate clients and EV owners.
New investors include Automotive Ventures, Goodyear Ventures, Hearst Ventures, Avesta Ventures, MAP Investco, Circumference Group, Enertech Capital and E8 Angels.
These firms join Recurrent’s existing investor group, which includes Wireframe Ventures, PSL Ventures, Ascend VC, Vulcan Capital, Prelude Ventures, Powerhouse Ventures and AAA of Washington, among others.
Recurrent’s reports display an Excellent, Good, or Fair rating to compare each electric vehicle’s range to its original range. An Excellent rating means that the vehicle’s range today is over 90% of its original range at full charge. A Good rating means the range is between 80-90% of its original range. A Fair rating means the vehicle’s range is less than 80% of original.
Congratulations to Scott Case and the entire Recurrent team.
Next up, Wrapmate, a Denver-based tech and service company in the vehicle wrapping industry, has raised an oversubscribed pre-seed round of $1.7 million dollars led by Automotive Ventures in addition to a supergroup of angel investors.
Chris Loar founded Wrapmate in 2018 after spending over 12 years in the vehicle wrapping industry and finding himself frustrated with the historically underdeveloped and fragmented nature of the space.
Wrapmate set out to reimagine the way customers learn about, purchase and install their vehicle graphics anywhere in the US using its technology-enabled platform. Through Wrapmate’s network of over 1,300 installation Pros representing every major US market, they provide customers a digital, one-stop-shop for all their vehicle wrapping needs.
Congratulations to Chris Loar and the entire WrapMate team.
Next up this week, e-Zinc, a Toronto-based company enabling sustainable, long-duration energy storage with its zinc-air battery, raised $25 million dollars in Series A financing.
The round was led by Anzu Partners, with participation from BDC Capital, Toyota Ventures, Eni Next and existing investors Energy Foundry.
e-Zinc is a zinc-air battery company whose energy storage system can operate in cold and hot climates, is made of abundant and recyclable materials, and can be up to 80 percent less expensive than comparable lithium-ion systems for long-duration applications.
In the future, you may drop off your car at the airport, and it may park itself.
STEER, a Maryland-based AV technology company, has been hyperfocused on providing high-level autonomy for automated parking. The startup has secured at least two OEM partnerships to embed its parking technology as a feature for passenger vehicles, but now it’s expanding on that original thesis and moving into the commercial sector.
STEER has been awarded $1.5 million dollars in funding from the North Central Texas Council of Governments to develop a testbed at the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport that will demonstrate how an automated parking ecosystem might alleviate the high traffic and heavily congested curbside drop-off and pick-up areas at the airport, particularly as air travel and, consequently, the use of ride-hailing services, picks up.
The pilot, which will go on for over a year, will combine three subsystems: low-speed vehicle automation for valet parking, supervisory parking management so the DFW system can watch over and control all the vehicles in AV mode and active digital curb management.
The pilot will initially use 10 test vehicles — a combination of sedans, SUVs and potentially some vans — that have been outfitted with STEER’s AV software and sensor suite, which consists of radar, camera, ultrasonics, and precision GPS.
Finally this week, a clever use case for cryptocurrency in the automotive space.
Hivemapper, the creator of a global, decentralized mapping network with a crypto-integrated dashcam, announced an $18 million dollar Series A round led by Multicoin Capital with participation from Craft Ventures, Solana Capital, Shine Capital, and Spencer Rascoff’s 75 & Sunny Ventures.
Joining previous investors Spark Capital, Founder Collective, and Homebrew, they bring the company’s total financing to $23 million dollars to date.
The new funds will be used to support Hivemapper’s main net launch this summer, onboard more map contributors, and deliver the company’s first crypto-integrated dashcam, the Hivemapper Dashcam, which is available for pre-order for $449 dollars effective immediately with shipping to begin in July 2022.
The Hivemapper Dashcam is the world’s first crypto-miner dashcam. It natively integrates with the Hivemapper Network through a seamless mobile app and puts mapping on autopilot with automatic uploads. Simply install the Hivemapper Dashcam in your car, drive, and mine HONEY crypto coins for collecting 4K street-level imagery and growing a decentralized map of our world.
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: EVmatch and 4.Screen.
Our first Company to watch this week is EVmatch.
Through EVmatch, individuals rent out their private charging stations, helping communities share charging resources and support more EVs on the road.
EV drivers leverage the sharing economy to easily find nearby, affordable charging, while station owners generate earnings by renting out their home charging infrastructure.
Check out EVmatch at www.EVmatch.com.
Our second company to watch this week is 4.Screen.
4.screen is an automotive technology startup based in Germany, building a platform that connects drivers with businesses.
Their technology helps local stores and brands to be found in car screens and enables car manufacturers to monetize their in-car assets.
Check out 4.Screen at www.4Screen.com.
My new book titled The Future of Automotive Retail is now available! In the book, I overview the various themes that are most likely to impact auto dealerships’ businesses over the next 5 to 10 years, and I attempt to provide some practical advice on how to prepare to weather upcoming disruptive forces.
For all of you who tune in to the Friday Five, I’d be thrilled to send you a copy of the book, just click here.
People often ask me why I’m affiliated with CBT News.
Besides having an outstanding, extremely talented, and hardworking team up here at the studio, I greatly appreciate the valuable role that CBT News plays in the automotive industry.
Every day, I eagerly look forward to my morning email from CBT News to ensure I’m getting the most up-to-date and relevant information on the industry.
I encourage you to tune in to CBT News to ensure that you’re getting the automotive news that matters.
So that’s your weekly Friday Five, 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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