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Foureyes founder David Steinberg announces funding round and Hagerty goes public via SPAC merger

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 kick off today’s show with some news hot off the press. So without further ado, I would like to introduce David Steinberg from automotive tech company, Foureyes. Foureyes has raised $10 million in its latest funding round, and as part of today’s episode, Steinberg discusses how they raised that capital, and what it will go towards.

Thanks for making time to join the show today and share this outstanding news. Congratulations to you and the teams at AdPearance and FourEyes!

So, let’s dig into the AutoTech deals of the past week.

Hagerty

First up, a brand that anyone who is a collector car enthusiast will know and love, as specialty automotive insurer Hagerty plans to go public on the New York Stock Exchange via merger with a special-purpose acquisition company.

Hagerty, which focuses its insurance offerings on the “global automotive enthusiast market,” plans to merge with SPAC Aldel Financial. The deal values Hagerty at $3.13 billion dollars and includes $704 million dollars in PIPE financing from investors State Farm and Markel.

The deal, set to close in the fourth quarter, will leave the Hagerty family with 52 percent control of the new publicly-traded company.

FIX4 Capital

FIX4 Capital, a company founded in early 2020 to provide affordable and flexible car repair loans, has raised $7.2 million in its first round seed funding to help propel its growth plans.

The round included the participation of venture capital firm Tactico, Keira Capital Partners and angel investors.

Since launching its app and quick loan service earlier this year, FIX4 Capital has helped hundreds of drivers get back on the road through its promise of quick access to money for car repair and maintenance. In the process, the company has helped service centers reduce the potential for lost revenues even and especially in the throes of COVID-19.

Privacy4Cars

Privacy4Cars announced a Series A investment round led by FM Capital, with additional investment by Automotive Ventures.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Privacy4Cars is a tech company that aims to identify and resolve data privacy issues in the auto industry.

Privacy4Cars plans on using the funding for growing its service and platform, supporting its research and IP, recruiting talent and both international and domestic growth.

DealerPeak CRM

DealerPeak CRM, a company that builds customer-relations management software for car dealerships, recently raised $3 million from investors.

DealerPeak makes customer-relations management (CRM) software for used car dealerships to nurture sales leads, track marketing efforts, monitor inventory and assist with the auto financing process.

The funding round was led by Geweke Auto Group, with additional participation from Tim Crown, one of the founders of Insight Enterprises in Tempe, Jim Prendergast, co-founder of HealthiestYou, and Zach Ferres, board member and co-founder of Coplex in Phoenix.

iLendingDIRECT

iLendingDIRECT announced that it has raised an additional $35 million dollars through a transaction led by First Eagle Alternative Credit. This new capital follows iLending’s announcement in May that J.C. Flowers & Co. LLC had taken a majority stake in the company.

The platform from iLending is available in all 50 states, and can handle the entire process, including finding the best rates, paying off the previous finance company and re-titling the vehicle.

Executives from iLending said its platform can save consumers an average of $144 dollars a month on their payments through direct relationships with credit unions and other financing institutions that ensure consumers have access to the best available rates.

CHAMPtitles

CHAMPtitles, a technology company that is changing the way that vehicle titles are created, managed, and transferred in the United States, has closed an $8.5 million dollar Series A investment. The round was led by Eos Venture Partners and W. R. Berkley Corporation, and it brings the company’s combined funding to over $17.5 million dollars.

Champ Titles was launched in 2018 and can reduce the amount of time it takes to create, manage, or transfer a vehicle title to just one day.

The money raised will be used to accelerate the distribution of its breakthrough technology across multiple vehicle title ecosystem verticals and a broader geographic footprint.

HopSkipDrive

HopSkipDrive, a rideshare platform for kids, is betting that demand for its rideshare service will increase as parents send their kids back to school. To help fund that growth and expand into 30 new markets over the next year and a half, HopSkipRide raised $25 million dollars in a Series C.

The new cash injection, which came from Energy Impact Partners, Keyframe Capital, FirstMark Capital and 1776 Ventures, will be used to invest in electrification initiatives that will spur the company’s goal of helping its CareDrivers transition to electric vehicles affordably via partnerships with OEMs.

Innovusion

Innovusion, a global leader in the design and development of image-grade LiDAR technology, has successfully raised $66 million dollars in Series B-Plus financing.

The round was led by Guotai Junan International Private Equity Fund (GTJAI) with participation from Shunwei Capital. Existing investors NIO Capital, F-Prime Capital, Eight Roads Ventures, and Temasek also participated in the round.

Having been recognized for efficient, safe, and cost-effective LiDAR solutions, Innovusion will use the new infusion of capital to increase the production capabilities of its automotive-grade LiDARs, expand their global footprint, and further broaden its research and development efforts to promote the widespread adoption of LiDAR technology across autonomous vehicles, smart infrastructure, and high-speed rail transit systems.

ChargePoint & ViriCiti

U.S. electric vehicle charging company ChargePoint has acquired ViriCiti, a provider of electrification solutions for eBus and commercial fleets, for about 75 million euros (or $87.9 million dollars) to expand its operations into Europe.

Amsterdam-based ViriCiti is ChargePoint’s second acquisition in the European market, and comes less than a month after it agreed to acquire the operating software firm has·to·be gmbh.

With EV sales getting a boost, companies like ChargePoint are investing more to expand their footholds into new markets.

Kovi

In International news this week, Brazil-based Kovi has raised $104 million in a Series B round of funding co-led by Valor Capital Group and Prosus Ventures. Quona Capital, GFC, Monashees, UVC Investimentos, Pipo, Norte Ventures and Globo Ventures also participated in the financing.

The round takes Kovi’s total equity raised since inception to about $145 million dollars. The company also recently closed on a $20 million dollar debt facility. It is not yet a unicorn, according to execs, who declined to reveal valuation.

Kovi rents vehicles to on-demand drivers who work for ride-hailing companies such as Uber, Didi and Lyft. It then expanded from on-demand drivers to food delivery workers.

Waycare Technologies

Israeli startup Waycare Technologies has been acquired for $61 million dollars by Rekor Systems.

Founded in 2016, Waycare has developed a solution that uses artificial intelligence to aggregate and process data from various sources to help government agencies with crash prediction, congestion detection, as well as incident management and identification.

Waycare collates data from transportation agencies’ existing infrastructure, which is then synthesized with additional data from mobile apps, connected vehicles, weather analysis and event management systems. AI algorithms ingest and process this information to produce actionable insights and predictions.

Canada Drives

Canada Drives, Canada’s largest 100% online car shopping and to-your-door delivery platform, announced the close of $100M in funding, led by Honor Ventures with participation from KAR Global and other strategic investors. The investment will be used to further expand Canada Drives service across Canada to new markets.

Founded in 2010, Canada Drives has been the largest online automotive finance company in the country, helping over 1M Canadians finance and purchase cars in the past decade. In May 2021, Canada Drives expanded its retail model from British Columbia to Ontario, allowing customers to purchase certified used vehicles online and have them delivered as soon as the same-day.

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, our companies to watch are Dixon Technologies & Quotible

Dixon Technologies

Dixon Technologies is an automotive software company that helps dealers grow and retain their customer base.

They have three products:

  1. Status+ is a Service CRM Tool.
  2. Recon+ decreases your time to market and points out any bottlenecks by measuring your process through every step.
  3. Acquisition+ allows dealers to connect with private sellers with the fastest moving vehicles through an automated texting campaign.

If you’re looking for innovative tools in any of these three areas, it would be worthwhile to check out Dixon Technologies!

Quotible

Quotible is a dealer founded interactive lead response and communication platform. They help dealers maximize every single opportunity and differentiate from the competition by delivering highly engaging interactive personalized quotes via text and email.

Dealers using Quotible deliver a first response that drives engagement, differentiates the dealership, and most importantly, helps increase contacts, appointments, and closing percentages.

If you’re looking to engage customers, book appointments & sell more cars, you might think about checking out Quotible.

With Quotible’s automated lead response & communication software, you are able to deliver a great first impression and maximize sales opportunities—every time.

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So that’s your weekly Friday 5, a quick wrap-up of the big deals in automotive technology over the past week.

It’s an exciting time to be in the automotive space, with a ton of deals going on. Make sure you stay tuned in each week to stay up to date on the auto industry’s technology M&A activity. I’ll keep my fingers on the pulse of deals being done, so I can share updates with you.

If you’re an early-stage automotive technology entrepreneur looking to raise money, or an entrepreneur who wants to chat about the best timing and process to sell your company to achieve the best outcome, I’d love to discuss it with you at steve@automotive.ventures.

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