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CarLotz starts trading on the Nasdaq, FreeWire raises $50M in funding, EVgo plans to go public, and more

Welcome to another edition 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.

We have a number of technology deals to announce on today’s show, so let’s get started.

Social Auto Transport

Social Auto Transport, a platform that helps automotive companies move vehicles more efficiently, closed a $1.5 million dollar seed round, led by Overline, an Atlanta-based seed-stage venture capital firm.

Since its founding, Social Auto Transport has raised more than $2.7 million dollars.

Social Auto Transport has operations in Richmond, Virginia, Charlotte, and Philadelphia — with plans to expand to Atlanta, Washington, D.C., and three other cities over the next six months. Their goal is to expand into 30 markets over the next few years.

Nick Mottas and longtime friend and colleague Rob Newton founded the startup in Richmond in 2018 and expanded operations to Charlotte just one year later.

The pair met working in the IT department at a well-known trucking company, and several years later, when Mottas left for a job at CarMax, he recruited Newton to join him there.

While working for CarMax, the pair began to brainstorm a better way to move vehicles and recognized a pain point in moving a single-vehicle a short distance. They set out to solve the problem of how to move a car quickly and still be economical.

They began building out a platform for their startup, Social Auto Transport, on nights and weekends. In early 2018, after securing a $900,000 investment, Mottas and Newton left CarMax to run the company full time.

The startup is a gig economy platform that facilitates moving cars for automotive dealers, repair shops, fleets, and retail agencies. Mottas said the idea was to build a marketplace that provides these companies with a reliable short-haul service for when they need to move inventory, make operational moves and provide concierge pickup and delivery services to their customers.

Congratulations to the Social Auto Transport team!

FreeWire Technologies

FreeWire Technologies has raised a $50 million Series C led by Riverstone Capital., with participation from BP Ventures, Energy Innovation Capital, TRIREC PTE LTD, and Alumni Ventures Group.

The California-based company is a provider of battery-integrated electric vehicle chargers and other power solutions, with plans to install more than 2,500 charging stations by 2025. FreeWire was valued at $54.6 million dollars after a $25 million dollar round in April.

Sila Nanotechnologies

Sila Nanotechnologies, a Silicon Valley battery materials company, has spent years developing technology designed to pack more energy into a cell at a lower cost — an end game that has helped it lock in partnerships with BMW Group and Daimler AG.

Sila has raised a $590m Series F round that has pushed its valuation to $3.3 billion,  led by Coatue with significant participation by funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price. Existing investors 8VC, Bessemer Venture Partners, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, and Sutter Hill Ventures also participated in the round.


CarLotz finally began trading on the Nasdaq exchange under the “LOTZ” ticker symbol, becoming the latest online used-vehicle company to go public.

CarLotz, which focuses on used-vehicle consignment, announced last year it would become a publicly-traded company by completing a reverse merger with Acamar Partners Acquisition Corp., a special-purpose acquisition company, or SPAC.

CarLotz is based in Richmond, Virginia., and has eight hub locations in Virginia, North Carolina, Texas, Florida, and Illinois. The company plans to expand with three to four additional hubs per quarter going forward: Locations in Seattle and Orlando are set to open next month.


EV charging company EVgo has announced plans to go public via a reverse-merger with Climate Change Crisis Real Impact I, a special purpose acquisition company.

EVgo expects to net $575 million dollars in proceeds from the transaction, which values the combined company at approximately $2.6 billion dollars. The company will be renamed EVgo Inc. and will be listed under the ticker EVGO.

EVgo is one of the leading U.S.-based electric vehicle charging businesses. Established just over a decade ago, the company operates more than 800 charging stations across 34 states. It currently serves roughly 220,000 customers in 67 metropolitan areas.


MotoRefi has raised $10 million in a round led by Moderne Ventures.

The company has an auto refinancing platform that handles the entire process, including finding the best rates, paying off the old lender, and re-titling the vehicle.


Autozen, a consumer-to-business marketplace that aims to give consumers “an easier, safer and more transparent way” to sell their vehicles, has raised $4.2 million in an initial funding round.

The company is in the final stages of preparing to launch.

Companies to Watch

On to our Companies to Watch!

Every week we highlight interesting companies in the automotive technology space to keep an eye on. If you read my monthly newsletter, 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’ll look at two companies to watch, TruVideo and MONK AI.


Our first company to watch, TruVideo, was founded in 2015 and is located in Wellesley, Massachusetts.

TruVideo provides advanced communication and advertising solutions for the automotive industry.

TruVideo is a video communication platform that allows dealers to virtually bring the customer into the service area and see what the technician sees. Service customers typically see increased revenue of between 10%-35% through transparency and trust.

By sending the video to the customer along with a narrative, the customer gains confidence that his service provider is being transparent with all of their service recommendations and builds trust in the relationship.

TruVideo’s dealer customers are experiencing a:

  • 10% bump in Customer Satisfaction scores
  • 30% increase in dollars per Repair Order
  • 25% improvement in “show rate” for sales prospects
  • 440 average videos viewed per account per month

With TruVideo, Service technicians can shoot and send video to dealer customers so they can see exactly what needs to be repaired and understand why. In one or two videos, dealers can earn customer loyalty that once took years to build.

TruVideo offers an All-in-one communications platform for your service department to communicate with your customer.: Video, Texting, payments, Estimates, and Internal Chat.


Our second company to watch this week is MONK AI, an AI-based inspections system that builds trust between buyer and seller whenever an item changes hands, thanks to AI and  computer vision.

MONK Detects damages on any vehicle from photographs and delivers a solution for a fraction of the traditional price.

The solution allows users to Share, Resell, and Buy used items with total peace of mind, while the AI-based solution certifies the state of any item.

The company uses Deep Learning and Computer Vision to enable transparency and to remove the gray area that exists whenever the condition of an object needs to be assessed.

MONK utilizes Deep Learning and Computer Vision models to automatically analyze your pictures from any video or photo source.

Users get an Automated Report; A comprehensive list of the damages with its information, which categorizes the severity and repair/replace cost of the item.

The company also provides a dashboard to get access to past data and relevant analytics.

Did you miss last week’s episode of The Friday 5? Watch it here now! And don’t forget to share your questions and comments with Jim Fitzpatrick at

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Steve Greenfield
Steve Greenfield
Steve is the Founder and CEO of Automotive Ventures, an automotive technology advisory firm that helps entrepreneurs raise money and maximize the value of their companies. They also assist PE firms to conduct due diligence on automotive technology acquisitions, advise technology CEOs on strategy, and help represent sellers at the time of sale.

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