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Which AV software startup scored an investment from GM? AutoVerify acquires what merchandising solution?

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, in the dealership software space this week, AutoVerify acquired AIM Experts, an advanced inventory merchandising solution provider, to take the stress out of buying and owning a vehicle for consumers, and to help solve dealer frustrations in this area.

Details of the transaction were not disclosed.

AIM Experts was founded in 2012, and built a platform that is used by approximately 400 dealers, according to AutoVerify.

AutoVerify said the acquisition will allow dealers to better display, market and merchandise vehicles from their vehicle details pages, and better equip them to highlight the features that differentiate their vehicles from their competitors. It also provides dealers with an opportunity to introduce and explain finance and insurance offerings.


In the on-demand services space this week, Spiffy has purchased Pit Crew, expanding on-demand car care into Tennessee and bringing new preventative maintenance services to Spiffy.

Details of the transaction were not disclosed.

Pit Crew, which operates in the Tennessee cites of Nashville, Memphis and Knoxville, has primarily focused on oil and tire change services since its launch in August 2018. However, Pit Crew has dipped it toes into new services like providing replacement batteries, wiper blades, headlights and tail lights.


In the EV charging space this week, Tritium, a global developer and manufacturer of DC fast charging technology for electric vehicles, announced a $40 million Australian dollar private placement by Cigna Investments, the investment arm of Cigna Corporation, a U.S.-based global health services company.

In May, Tritium announced its business combination with SPAC Decarbonization Plus Acquisition Corp II.

This is the second private placement financing by Cigna, following a June 2020 private placement of $45 million Australian dollars.

Tritium is a leader in a number of mature EV markets, such as Norway and California. Founded in Australia and having already deployed more than 4,500 charging stations, Tritium has provided more than 2.7 million high-power charging sessions across 41 countries, delivering an aggregate of over 55 Giga-Watt-Hours of energy.

ACCURE Battery Intelligence

In the battery technology space this week, Germany-based battery analytics company ACCURE Battery Intelligence has received $8 million dollars in a Series A funding round, led by Blue Bear Capital, with existing investors Capnamic Ventures and 42CAP participating.

The software and AI-driven solution assists manufacturers and operators in monitoring the overall health and safety conditions of a battery system throughout its lifecycle.

Including this round, the company has raised a total of $10.7 million dollars in funding.

With a focus on safety and reliability, the Accure SaaS platform allows companies in the energy and mobility sectors to predict, and avoid, any battery failures before they happen. This potentially life-saving technology applies not only to new batteries but can also be retrofitted to existing battery systems.


In the connected car space this week, Aviva has raised $26.5 million dollars in a funding round led by the founders of Marvell Technology Group.

The round will enable Aviva Links to speed product development and expand sales and marketing for its high-speed data movement for in-car communications. The company has raised $33 million dollars to date.

Vehicles have vast amounts of data moving through them, and Aviva is building secured in-vehicle connectivity chips that can move this data at multi-gigabit speeds while meeting the performance, power, security, and cost requirements of the market.


In the Autonomous Vehicle space this week, Oculii, a software startup that aims to improve the spatial resolution of radar sensors by up to 100-fold, has scored a new investment from General Motors. The new funding, which the two companies say is in the millions, comes just months after Oculii closed a $55 million dollar Series B financing round.

Oculii wants to license software to radar companies. The startup claims it can take low-cost, commercially available radar sensors — sensors that weren’t designed for autonomous driving, but rather for limited scenarios like emergency breaking or parking assist — and use its AI software to enable more autonomous maneuvering.

Tricolor Auto Group

Tricolor Auto Group announced a $90 million dollar convertible preferred equity investment from funds managed by BlackRock, which converts to a minority stake.

The new capital will be used to rapidly expand its mission-driven approach powered by artificial intelligence to the purchase and financing of high quality, affordable used vehicles for credit invisible Hispanics nationwide.

Tricolor has operated its vehicle retail and financing enterprise focused on the Hispanic market for the past 14 years in California and Texas.c

Now with financial resources from one of the most notable investment firms in the country, Tricolor has its sights set on expanding nationwide.

XLerate Group

On the heels of last week’s announcement that Private equity firm Brightstar Capital Partners entered a definitive agreement to acquire a majority stake in the auto auction and remarketing facilitation company XLerate Group, the company has purchased Greater Shreveport-Bossier Auto Auction. With this acquisition, which is the group’s 10th, XLerate now has 14 auction brands that include fixed-site and mobile sales throughout 11 states.

This news comes less than two months after buying Liquid Motors.

Cao Cao Mobility

In international news this week, Cao Cao Mobility, the ride-hailing unit of Chinese automaker GEELY, has announced a $589 million dollar Series B raise that the company says will help it upgrade its technology and expand its fleet, according to a statement released by the company.

The raise brings the company’s total funding to around $773.2 million dollars.

Suzhou Xiangcheng Financial Holding Group led the round along with Suzhou High-Speed Rail New City Group and three other state-controlled enterprises.

Cao Cao, which is currently available in 62 cities in China, saw ride volume increase 32% in July.


India-based CARS24 raised $259 million dollars at a $1.75 billion dollar valuation. Investors included DST Global, Alpha Wave Investors, Tencent, Moore Strategic Partners, Exor Seeds, and BloombergSen Investment Partners.

Cars24 used to only buy cars on behalf of dealers until 2019. However, it more recently diversified into selling to retail customers and now directly competes with CarDekho, Spinny and Droom. Its indirect competitors include Mahindra First Choice and Maruti True Value. Besides India, the firm also expanded its offerings to the Middle East, Australia and the UK markets.


The vehicle insurance space has been red hot recently, and this week U.K.-based Marshmallow has raised $85 million dollars in a Series B round, led by Passion Capital, with participation from Investec and SCOR.

This funding round catapults Marshmallow to a “unicorn” valuation of $1.25 billion dollars.

Marshmallow provides a new approach to car insurance aimed at using a wider set of data points and clever algorithms to net a more diverse set of customers and provide more competitive rates.

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 Shyft Auto and Aucto.

Shyft Auto

First up this week is Shyft Auto.

With Shyft Auto, There’s a better way to grow your auto repair shop. Shyft Auto’s modern and easy to use software helps you minimize the chaos so that you can focus on operations and take your repair shop to the next level.

Their newest product, Bayley, is a smart service bay assistant. Bayley was invented by a service manager to help technicians be more efficient and cut out wasted time in different stages of repairing vehicles.

Bayley is an artificial intelligent touch screen assistant application that mounts to any service lift without drilling.

Technicians benefit by using Bayley with Real time tracking of how long vehicles have been on service lifts to help Sort repair jobs by fastest route to completion using machine learning and artificial intelligence; Turning more hours by getting recommendations to customers faster; and Automating parts and labor pricing saving saving technicians time spent in the Parts department and waiting on advisors to sell recommended work.

Shops benefit from using Bayley through greater REVENUE, Increased parts sales, and better Reporting to help you understand your technician speeds on jobs and bay efficiency


Aucto provides a digital platform and marketplace that enables enterprise organizations to recover value from surplus business and industrial assets. Think about automotive OEMs trying to change the configuration of their factories from internal combustion engines to electric vehicles.

Aucto believes that the current way of buying & selling surplus machinery and equipment needs improvement, that is why they created a platform that empowers sellers and provides buyers a chance to buy industrial equipment at fair market value.


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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