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.
First up this week, RoboTire has raised a $7.5 million dollar Series A round led by The Reinalt-Thomas Corporation, the major tire retail brand behind Discount Tire and America’s Best Tire, LLC. In addition to Automotive Ventures, other investors included Detroit Venture Partners and 640 Oxford Ventures.
RoboTire’s underlying technology is capable of changing a set of tires in less than 15 minutes.
Congratulations to Victor Darolfi, Will Mapes and the entire RoboTire team.
Next up Vroom has reached a deal to purchase United Auto Credit Corporation for $300 million dollars in cash, subject to adjustment depending on the closing book value of United Auto Credit.
The acquisition would further push Vroom into building captive financing capabilities. Additionally, integrating United Auto Credit’s non-prime lending capabilities can help allow consumers from additional credit tiers to purchase on the Vroom platform.
United Auto Credit will be added to the existing lineup of auto finance options on the Vroom platform. Meanwhile, both companies will work on integrating United Auto Credit’s services and build Vroom’s captive finance operation.
When the deal closes, United Auto Credit will continue to operate under its current name and will become an indirect wholly-owned Vroom subsidiary. The deal is expected to close late this quarter or early in the first quarter of 2022.
Tenstreet, a provider of driver recruiting software and workflow solutions for the trucking industry, completed a majority investment from Providence Equity Partners.
Existing investor Spectrum Equity and Tenstreet Co-founder and CEO Tim Crawford will maintain significant minority stakes.
Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Founded in 2006, Tenstreet modernized recruiting in the trucking industry through its suite of recruiting applications that allow trucking carriers and private fleets to widen their applicant funnel, increase the speed of hiring, ensure compliance with trucking regulations and improve the application experience for drivers. Tenstreet maintains a comprehensive network of over 5 million drivers and processes 17 million job applications per year for its 3,700 fleet customers.
Rendered.AI has raised a $6 million seed round led by Space Capital, with participation from Tectonic Ventures, Congruent Ventures, UNION Labs and Uncorrelated Ventures.
The availability of data can paralyze a company and its effort to bring software-centric products and services to market. To solve this issue, two-year-old data startup Rendered.ai is generating synthetic data for the satellite, medical, robotics and automotive industries.
Synthetic data is manufactured rather than gathered from the real world.
Zūm, the leader in modern student transportation, announced $130 million dollars in Series D funding led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2, with participation from existing investors including Sequoia Capital and BMW iVentures.
Zum’s comprehensive service is designed to transport students safely, reliably, and sustainably with increased visibility and personalized care. The company will use the new capital to further its mission to reimagine student transportation by strategically expanding its service across new markets and districts while adding new electric vehicles to its platform as it delivers on its 100% EVs by 2025 commitment.
TruckLabs, a technology company helping transform the trucking industry, has raised a $15 million dollar Series A round to fund the continued growth of its product suite that empowers fleets to improve their operational performance by boosting fuel efficiency, increasing driver engagement, and reducing carbon emissions.
The oversubscribed funding round was co-led by returning investors Calibrate Ventures, Autotech Ventures, and Uncork Capital.
To date, TruckLabs has raised $24 million dollars total in venture capital funding.
TruckLabs designs and builds technology for the long-haul trucking industry. Its flagship product, TruckWings, is an aerodynamic device that can be quickly installed to close the gap between cab and trailer on large trucks to save fuel. TruckWings are widely deployed across the trucking industry, currently operating on carrier fleets that average more than 3.5 million miles per week. TruckLabs also offers a software platform for trucker engagement and performance measurement.
Otto, a fintech startup that aims to allow people to tap into their vehicle’s equity for access to credit, has raised $4.5 million dollars in a seed round of funding.
The Dallas-based company is building a mobile platform that will essentially let people borrow against their vehicles at the same interest rate as standard credit cards. But unlike other cards, Otto will not charge fees or overdraft charges, and will not require applicants to supply their FICO credit scores. Users will be able remotely verify and collateralize their cars through Otto’s mobile platform, which is set to launch in early 2022.
Uncommon Capital led the startup’s seed financing, which included participation from Pelion Venture Partners, 1930 Capital, Bloom VP and Spacecadet Ventures. Other investors include Mark Cuban.
Cox Automotive’s Dickinson Fleet Services announced the acquisition of Mobile Fleetcare, the San Francisco Bay Area’s leading provider of fleet maintenance. The acquisition serves to expand and strengthen the geographic reach of DFS in the Northern California region. With the acquisition, Dickinson Fleet Services will look to further expand its mobile offering for medium and heavy-duty trucks and trailers into other markets in Northern California, including Sacramento, San Jose and Fresno.
Mobile Fleetcare marks Dickinson’s twelfth acquisition since 2017. Under the ownership of Cox Automotive, DFS continues to pursue additional acquisition targets across North America.
In international news this week, Australia-based AlgoDriven has raised $2 million dollars in funding from Global Ventures, Automotive Ventures, Spartech Ventures, OTF Wadi, Driven Capital Partners, and DTEC Ventures.
Founded in 2017 by Glenn Harwood and Jaron Crossland, AlgoDriven allows car dealers, classifieds, banks, and insurance firms to identify and price used cars. Its tools help value assets for loans, insurance policies, price vehicle subscriptions, and leases.
AlgoDriven’s main product is EvalExpert, a mobile and web-based platform that allows car dealers to carry out a data-driven appraisal of used cars either online or in person. The product that Harwood and Jaron had initially developed for themselves is now used by more than 600 car showrooms in 13 countries.
The owner of cinch, a competitor to Cazoo, has bought a business that it said will make it become Europe’s largest online used car marketplace.
Constellation Automotive Group, also behind webuyanycar.com, has acquired Amsterdam-headquartered CarNext.com, which is forecast to sell around 250,000 vehicles via its websites in 2021.
The tie-up will create a digital giant that sells more than 2.5 million cars a year.
It marks the latest expansion plan by Constellation, whose majority shareholder is TDR Capital.
TPG’s Rise Climate Fund and Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund ADQ have agreed to make a $1 billion dollar investment into an electric vehicle division of India’s Tata Motors, at a valuation of $9.1 billion dollars.
TPG and ADQ will hold an 11% to 15% stake in the EV unit, which will be newly incorporated. The new company will focus on dedicated battery electric vehicle platforms, the development of charging infrastructure, and more.
After the new funding was announced, Tata Motors said it plans to invest $2 billion dollars in the division and release 10 EV models over the next five years—in an effort to reach the Indian government’s goal of having electric vehicles represent 30% of the country’s car sales by 2030.
Israeli shared multimodal mobility operator GoTo Global Mobility has acquired German shared electric scooter company Emmy Sharing. The strategic deal will help GoTo Global, which offers customers access to shared cars, vans, mopeds, scooters and bikes, reach its goal of expanding to every major European city by 2025.
GoTo Global did not share the financial terms of the deal.
Acquiring emmy sharing, which has a fleet of over 3,000 shared electric step-through scooters across Berlin, Hamburg and Munich, gives GoTo a direct path to the German market. The company’s current footprint includes Spain, Malta and Israel.
Tembici, a Brazilian micro-mobility technology startup, announced an $80 million dollar funding round led by Crescera Capital, which is also joining the startup‘s board. The Series C was also backed by Pipo and Endeavor Catalyst.
The new investors join existing investors Redpoint eventures, IFC – International Finance Corporation, Valor and Igah Ventures.
The expansion strategy includes adding 10,000 new bikes to the fleet by the end of next year and starting operations in new cities, starting with Brasília, where Tembici will debut in October with 500 bikes and 70 stations.
The startup currently runs 16,000 bikes in Brazil, Argentina, and Chile; 1,000 of them are electric, the so-called e-bikes, which mainly serve professionals who work for delivery apps in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo cities. From this new fleet, 5,000 will be e-bikes.
Wayve, a U.K.-based self-driving startup that is notable for its use of deep learning and cameras rather than more-costly lidar and other sensors to guide vehicles, is gearing up for its next stage of development with a strategic backer in its pocket. Ocado Group — the online grocer that also powers online grocery systems for other retailers like Kroger in the U.S. — announced that it is investing $13.6 million dollars in the startup.
The deal will give Ocado early access to London-based Wayve’s technology, which will be used in a trial in which Wayve’s hardware and software will be fitted on to Ocado vans and trialed for a year in real-world scenarios involving traffic congestion, making awkward turns on small residential streets and navigating complicated, non-grid street layouts.
CarDekho, an Indian search and e-commerce platform for new and used cars, has become the latest startup in the world’s second-largest market to reach unicorn status.
The 14-year-old startup said on Wednesday it has raised $250 million — $200 million in equity and $50 million in debt — in its Series E financing round. The round, which valued the Jaipur-headquartered firm at $1.2 billion, was led by LeapFrog Investments.
Canyon Partners, LLC, Mirae Asset Global Investments,Franklin Templeton, Harbor Spring Capital LLC as well as existing investors Sequoia Capital India and Sunley House Capital Ltd also participated in what CarDekho has described as its pre-IPO round.
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 in the tire technology space to watch, which include Autority & Everrati
First Up This Week Is Autority, based in Equador and focused on the car ownership experience.
Owning a car can be an amazing experience, but maintaining it can be a hassle. Owners are overwhelmed with the number of services that need to kept up: insurance, parking, tolls, fines, maintenance, tires, registration, gas, and others.
Autority has built an App that centralizes services and benefits related to a vehicle.
They’ve built a network of AAA carshops where users have access to free perks and discounts, integrated parking lots to allow drivers to enter and exit cashless, provide users with alerts on fines they’ve received, inform users on their use of tolls…preventing them getting fined, they are able to display a user’s insurance information and benefits, leverage discounts on gas, and keep track of everything digitally — guaranteeing the user a better resale price for their car.
Our Second Company To Watch This Week is UK-based Everrati Automotive.
Everrati passionately redefines the most iconic classic cars and make them relevant to the world today.
Each car’s past is preserved by a meticulous, concours-standard restoration while simultaneously receiving a zero-emissions, full-electric powertrain that offers much improved levels of outright performance, refinement and of course sustainability.
Everrati is currently accepting deposits on their electric Porsche 911, electric series 2 Land Rover and electric Mercedes Pagoda models. They are already working on redefining other classic icons, ensuring the future for electric classic cars.
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 email@example.com.
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