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, I am back from SEMA last week in Las Vegas, and it was my first time at the show. For anyone who loves cars, it really is the mecca of customized cars and aftermarket parts and accessories. You honestly wouldn’t believe some of the crazy cars out there. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves automobiles.
With that, let’s get right into this week’s deals. First up this week, let’s start with two IPOs that hit the market
The greatly anticipated IPO of EV manufacturer Rivian finally IPO’d this week at over $70 billion dollars in market cap, making it the largest IPO of this year, and one of the largest IPOs of all time.
Rivian was really put on the map back in 2019 when Amazon ordered 100,000 electric delivery trucks. Recently, Amazon disclosed that they own 20% in Rivian. Other early investors in Rivian included Cox Automotive.
Despite some other EV automakers that have suffered some massive flameouts over the last year, Tesla’s market capitalization peaking at more than $1.0 Trillion dollars has helped buoy Rivian’s debut.
In other IPO news, E Automotive, parent of EBlock and EDealer, went public over the past week on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
Due to demand, the company said it priced the IPO to bring in gross proceeds of $135.7 million dollars, up from an initial target of $125 million dollars. E Automotive is backed by Canadian merchant bank Intercap.
It’s nice to see that strategic acquisitions in the AutoTech space continue.
This week, Cars.com announced that they will acquire CreditIQ, an automotive fintech platform that provides instant online loan screening and approvals to facilitate online car buying.
Consideration for the transaction will be $30 million dollars in cash at closing, with the potential for up to an additional $50 million dollars in performance-based cash consideration to be earned over the next three years. The transaction is expected to close this month.
Cars.com explained their rationale for the acquisition: Dealers gain access to CreditIQ’s advanced digital financing technology, which facilitates the completion of the finance process online across the CARS platform via Dealer Inspire’s 5,200 websites, its digital retailing platform “Online Shopper,” and the Cars.com marketplace. Dealers benefit from improved efficiency, increased profit Per Vehicle, greater lead conversion, and deeper attribution data and insights.
In addition, the technology offers automated lender decisions from dealers’ preferred lender networks.
Publicly traded Insurance technology company Lemonade is acquiring Metromile, the data science company focused on auto insurance. Lemonade will acquire Metromile in an all-stock transaction that implies a fully diluted equity value of approximately $500 million dollars, or just over $200 million dollars net of cash.
While Lemonade has been at the forefront of using big data and AI in home and pet insurance, Metromile has been trailblazing a parallel path for car insurance.
Metromile’s car-mounted device took over 400 million road trips in recent years, covering billions of miles and sending real-time data back to the Metromile cloud. This is cross-referenced against actual claims data, yielding precise predictions for losses per mile driven. These algorithms hold the promise of accelerating traction for the automotive product called “Lemonade Car”.
TRED, the online peer-to-peer car marketplace, announced a $25 million dollar Series B funding round to expand its products, locations, partnerships, and team of engineers. This funding round comes from new and existing investors including Genesis Capital Management, Westlake Financial, and CMFG Ventures.
TRED aims to make the buying and selling process simpler and faster for consumers. Its services include car buying and selling, auto financing, vehicle protection, vehicle value reports, fraud protection with TRED Escrow, and Guaranteed Asset Protection insurance.
TRED’s consumers can schedule test drives, engage with sellers to ask questions, pay online with financing from TRED, and pick up the car or have it delivered, all without ever setting foot in a car dealership or DMV.
BMW i Ventures, the venture capital unit of the BMW Group, announced a strategic investment in Upstream Security, which aims to accelerate the development of innovative automotive cybersecurity technologies and promote strategic connected vehicle cybersecurity projects.
Upstream provides a data management platform purpose-built for connected vehicles, delivering unparalleled automotive cybersecurity and advanced data-driven applications. The platform utilizes connected vehicle data to secure vehicles already on the road against known and unknown cyber-attacks and helps OEMs to unlock the value of automotive data.
Spartan Radar closed a $15 million dollar series A round this week. The round was led by Prime Movers Lab, and it quickly follows a $10 million seed round secured in August.
Spartan Radar claim their radar systems, emerging from the aerospace and defense industries, make substantial advances in resolution, allowing for lidar-like levels of obstacle detection for driver-assist systems and self-driving vehicles.
The company’s chief product, “Biomemetic Radar”, parallels the manner in which humans perceive and process information. It can lead to a lower rate of false-positive detections.
And finally, some international news this week to share.
In the wake of a $300 million dollar investment from General Motors in September, Momenta, an autonomous driving solution provider from China, announced an additional $500 million dollars added to its Series C round. The new injection brings the total of the startup’s Series C to over $1 billion dollars.
Momenta adapts what it calls a “two-legged strategy” of supplying advanced driver assistance systems to auto OEMs like GM and Tier 1 suppliers like Bosch, while conducting R&D on truly unmanned vehicles, that is, Level 4 driving.
The startup has assembled a list of heavyweight strategic investors, including China’s state-owned SAIC Motor, GM, Toyota Motor Corporation, Mercedes-Benz USA, and Bosch. Singapore’s sovereign fund Temasek and Jack Ma’s YunFeng Capital are among its institutional investors.
So with that, Let’s Transition To Our Companies To Watch!
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: Cognomotiv and RoadBotics.
First up, we have Cognomotiv, an early-stage company innovating in the vehicle data space.
Cognomotiv provides real-time data services to the automotive and transportation industries to enable the safety, security and proper functioning of modern and next-generation vehicles throughout their lifecycle. Using advanced data science and machine cognition, Cognomotiv continuously monitors vehicles as they operate—instantly detecting system faults and failures to increase vehicle safety, reliability and performance.
Through customizable management dashboards, Cognomotiv’s customers can view health and performance metrics of individual vehicles or entire fleets during operation.
Founded by experts in embedded, automotive and security technologies, Cognomotiv combines in-vehicle diagnostics with cybersecurity and backend system analytics to provide dynamic certification for all transport systems.
With its light Edge-AI footprint and powerful cognition engine, only Cognomotiv delivers critical runtime intelligence from the ECU to the cloud paired with outcomes-based recommendations to offer automotive companies a clear path to continuous improvement.
By gaining holistic intelligence of their products in the field, Cognomotiv customers can accelerate time-to-market of new offerings, reduce risks and lower costs of vehicle operation, and increase revenue.
Cognomotive is definitely a company to keep an eye on in the vehicle data software space.
Our second company to watch this week is RoadBotics, which provides software that integrates geographic information system, or GIS, mapping into one single software application to make it easier and faster for users.
RoadBotics transforms your visual infrastructure data into meaningful maps using artificial intelligence.
Their “AgileMapper” product empowers you to quickly and easily review inventory assets and note their condition, efficiently monitor the progress of multiple projects, and clearly communicate with your team.
Their “RoadWay” product has enabled 250 governments worldwide to objectively assess and manage their road networks.
RoadBotics will continue to be a company to watch in the vehicle and infrastructure mapping segment.
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.
I hope to see you out in Las Vegas next week at the NAVIcon investor conference, right in the middle of Used Car Week. I will be up on stage engaging in a number of conversations with strategic acquirers, VCs and entrepreneurs. And after lunch, six companies will pitch off for the chance to win the NAVIcon Cup.
Thank You For Tuning into CBT News for this week’s Friday Five, and we’ll see you next week in Las Vegas!
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