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Volvo Cars announces $2M investment into what startup? LG Energy Solution plans IPO despite Chevy Bolt EV concerns

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.

The year is definitely ending strong for M&A and investment across the AutoTech and Mobility spaces, so let’s get right into this week’s deals. 


To start off today’s segment, in-driveway brake repair company NuBrakes has raised a $9 million dollar Series A round led by Canvas Ventures, with participation from Contrary Capital, Bling Capital, Automotive Ventures, and Capital Factory.

NuBrakes sends mobile technicians direct to people’s homes and to fleet operators as well, with superior work that’s “up to 30% more affordable than brick and mortar auto shops.”

NuBrakes operates in nine markets across Texas, Georgia, Florida and Tennessee, and will use the funding to expand nationwide, more than double its team, and offer a wider array of auto repair services. It will also expand its services for mobile fleet operators and offer a “predictive telematics platform” that automates the auto repair process.

NuBrakes has raised a total of $12 million dollars to date. One of the fastest-growing auto tech companies in the U.S., it boasts triple-digit growth rates and 8 figures in annualized revenue.

Discount Tire

This week, Discount Tire, a leading independent retailer of tires and wheels, announced that they are acquiring Tire Rack, a leading independent tire tester and consumer-direct source for tires, wheels and performance accessories.

The acquisition is a significant investment in Discount Tire’s commitment to provide the most Inviting, Easy, and Safe omnichannel, B2B, and fleet customer experiences in the world.

The transaction is expected to close December 31st.


This is our third week in a row with an electric boat deal.

Two weeks ago we reported that General Motors bought a 25% stake in Pure Watercraft, valuing the electric boat startup at $600 million dollars.

Last week, we reported that Arc Boat Company raised a $30 million dollar round led by Eclipse Ventures. Arc Boat Company, a startup that launched 10 months ago has the goal to eventually electrify all mobility on the water, but is starting with a limited-edition $300,000 dollar boat.

This week, we have news that Candela, who makes an electric hydrofoil which glides above the sea on fins for a smoother, more efficient ride, has raised $24 million dollars. The round will accelerate production of its existing small craft and a larger commercial one, in pursuit of cleaner and generally more future-proof waters. The $24 million round was led by EQT Ventures.

LG Energy Solution

In battery related news this week, LG Energy Solution plans to raise as much as $10.8 billion dollars in what would be South Korea’s biggest-ever initial public offering, defying concerns over fires involving its batteries that led to a mass recall of Chevy Bolt EVs.

Retail and institutional investors can subscribe on Jan. 18th and 19th, according to the IPO prospectus, which said 20 percent will be allotted to employees. Trading will begin on Jan. 27th.

The offering could give LG Energy a market value of $59 billion dollars.


Intel Corporation plans to list shares of its Mobileye self-driving car business by the middle of next year, letting the chipmaker capitalize on its investment in a burgeoning industry.

Intel will remain the majority owner after the transaction, which involves an initial public offering of newly issued Mobileye stock. The move could generate billions for Intel at a time when it’s trying to revitalize its main business.

Mobileye has been a particular bright spot. The business, acquired by Intel in 2017 for about $15 billion dollars, has consistently grown faster than its parent — and it serves a still-nascent industry. Intel has projected that the market for automotive silicone will reach $115 billion dollars by the end of the decade.

The auto industry’s shift to electric vehicles and more autonomous cars is creating a huge appetite for electronics. Mobileye makes chips and software that work with sensors to let vehicles handle more driving functions, with the ultimate goal of replacing humans in the role altogether.

BMW i Ventures

BMW i Ventures announced a lead investment in the seed financing round of Rapid Liquid Print which brings the benefits of 3D printing to elastomers with a revolutionary gel-printing technology that uses industry-standard materials, such as soft rubber, silicone and foams, to produce soft, flexible products without retooling or post-processing. Also participating in the round is MassMutual through the MM Catalyst Fund.

The RLP team has perfected a new printing process where a liquid object is “drawn” in 3D within a gel suspension. The object cures while printing and then is ready for use with minimal post-processing. RLP produces large-scale objects from high-grade materials such as rubber, foams, and plastics in a matter of minutes.

Traditional 3D printing is restricted by slow speeds, limited build volumes, and poor material quality, which makes it unreliable as a mainstream manufacturing process. RLP changes the game for creating large-scale, elastomeric, airtight, and high-quality products in minutes.

Volvo Cars

News this week that Volvo Cars has invested $2 million dollars in the startup Spectralics, the developer of a new type of thin optics film that could be used to turn a vehicle’s entire windshield into an augmented reality display screen.

One of Spectralics’ core technologies is a multi-layered thin combiner, a new kind of thin optics film applicable to see-through surfaces of all shapes and sizes.

The film could be integrated into a vehicle’s windshield or windows, allowing the display of overlay imagery on the glass.

The technology has the potential to allow the creation of a wide field of view ‘heads-up display’ on the windshield, with objects superimposed on the real-world background to give a sense of distance. Volvo said the feature would provide “a safe and immersive experience” for drivers and passengers.

Serve Robotics

Serve Robotics, the autonomous sidewalk delivery company that spun out from Uber-owned Postmates in March, has closed an expanded seed round at $13 million dollars. The company will use the funds to accelerate its expansion plans into new customer segments and geographic areas, which will require them to build more sidewalk robots to fuel that growth.

Uber participated in the round as a strategic investor, alongside Delivery Hero-backed DX Ventures, 7-Eleven’s corporate venture arm 7-Ventures and Wavemaker Partners’ food automation-focused venture studio Wavemaker Labs.

Serve Robotics has been delivering to Postmates customers in multiple Los Angeles neighborhoods since 2018, when the startup was still “Postmates X”, the robotics division of the delivery platform. It started a commercial service in 2020 and its robots have completed tens of thousands of contactless deliveries from over 100 merchants in LA and San Francisco. In November, Serve said it would be offering its on-demand robotic delivery service to Uber Eats customers in LA early next year.


In international news this week, UK-based all-things-auto platform Carwow has secured $55 million dollars provided by Hercules Capital, in the form of venture debt funding.

Carwow is backed by other investors including Balderton Capital, Accel, Vitruvian Partners, Episode1, and Daimler.

The company reports that the majority of the capital will be used to further develop the technology powering their “sell your car” product, ramp up international expansion plans, and acquire more users.

To date, Carwow, across all its offerings, has raised just over $150 million dollars.


Stratio, the world’s leading real-time predictive fleet maintenance platform, announced a $12 million dollar Series A funding round to further accelerate its growth.

The investment was led by Forestay Capital, the Deep Tech and SaaS Venture Capital arm of Waypoint Capital, with participation from existing investor Crane Venture Partners.

Stratio’s AI-based predictive fleet maintenance prevents hundreds of thousands of breakdowns from happening every day, thus saving millions of people from the hassle of public transportation delays, postponed deliveries, or late arrival of essential goods.

By harnessing the power of data and using augmented intelligence, Stratio provides real-time actionable insights through a scalable platform that collects, analyzes, and explains when the next vehicle breakdown will happen. Its fully explainable AI system allows fleet managers and operators to easily understand the reasons behind each potential breakdown, thus moving away from a reactive maintenance approach that leads to vehicle downtime, lost revenue, unhappy customers, and a damaged reputation.


And finally, in what could be a huge deal next year, Volkswagen is exploring a possible IPO of its luxury brand Porsche as a way to fund its costly shift towards software and electric vehicles.

Speculation about a Porsche listing, which could be a record-breaking IPO, has surfaced over the year, but no decision has been made due to a complex stakeholder set-up.

Reports about a possible listing of the unit have included estimates of a standalone Porsche valuation of between $51 billion dollars and $101 billion dollars.

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: Autofleet and Upstream Automotive.


Autofleet is the operator of a vehicle as a service platform created to provide an elastic supply of vehicles serving any source of demand.

The company’s platform helps car rentals maximize their revenues and margins, increasing fleet utilization through aggregating demand, controlling supply and optimizing rides, enabling fleet managers to supply their underutilized vehicles as an on-demand service to any source of demand including ride-hailing companies.

Check out Autofleet at

Upstream Security

Upstream Security is a developer of a cloud-based automotive cybersecurity platform intended to protect the technologies and applications of connected and autonomous vehicles.

The company’s platform provides big data and machine learning which utilizes several layers of security gateway and analytics engine, enabling customers to get real-time visibility on security, privacy, and fraud alerts.

Check out Upstream Automotive at


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


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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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