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.
This week, we kick things off with sad news, as the automotive industry has lost one of its icons.
Maryann Keller, one of the first women on Wall Street to cover the auto industry and later a widely respected consultant who became a formidable critic of management at Detroit’s automakers, passed away last week. She was 78.
Keller, routinely the number one auto analyst in Institutional Investor’s widely watched ranking of the top stock pickers at leading brokerage houses, wielded enormous clout and influence over boardrooms and showrooms. Her books, meticulously reported with unprecedented access to company insiders, became must-reads for dealers, suppliers, journalists and anyone else who desired to go behind the scenes.
Her clarity and insight, biting at times, could move a company’s stock price in either direction with the release of a new report or a traditional buy or sell call.
With an appreciation for comprehensive, hands-on research, well before the Internet and cellphones spawned today’s influencers, Keller was the rare celebrity analyst to get out of New York regularly and visit dealerships, parts makers and factories — domestic and overseas — to get a firsthand look at key operations across the auto industry.
Maryann was instrumental in my career, and I’ll be forever grateful for her insights, patience, and how graceful she was to always make time for me.
Thank you Maryann. You will be missed by all of us.
So with that, let’s dig into the AutoTech deals of the week.
First up this week, Selly Automotive has been acquired by AutoManager, a provider of DMS and website builder tools to independent auto dealerships.
Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.
Selly is a leading provider of CRM software and also targets the independent auto industry.
As part of the transaction, AutoManager provided Selly with a growth investment to support staff expansion and product development.
Congratulations to Zach Klempf and the rest of the Selly Automotive team!
Next up this week, Blink Charging has agreed to acquire North American EV charging infrastructure manufacturer SemaConnect for $200 million dollars.
Blink, an electric vehicle charging station developer, said the acquisition will add nearly 13,000 chargers and 3,800 locations to its business.
This brings Blink up to 48,000 chargers, which means it’s finally on equal footing with ChargePoint, the leader of EV charging in the U.S. that boasts 30,000 stations with over 47,000 individual charging ports.
Blink said it will update SemaConnect’s charging stations to “a single state-of-the-art network” and expand Blink’s geographic reach.
Next up, I’m excited to announce that the Automotive Ventures DealerFund has conducted our initial close, which means that we’re now actively investing out of the fund.
If you’re an AutoTech entrepreneur working on a solution that helps car dealerships, we want to hear from you
If you’re a dealer who wants to invest in early-stage AutoTech companies that benefit your business, let me know at email@example.com. We are still accepting new investors into the fund.
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: 2Trde and Voyant Photonics.
Based over in Germany, 2trde is a B2B platform for used car trading, providing software solutions for mobility providers such as car dealerships, leasing companies, and manufacturers, helping to increase efficiency in the secondary market for used cars and driving greater profitability.
Check out 2Trade at www.2trde.com.
Voyant offers a new class of LiDAR that fits in the palm of your hand, can analyze any environment, in any lighting from bright sunlight to pitch darkness with millimeter precision, are immune to interference, that senses position, motion, and even the materials objects are made of, and are affordable for any application.
Check out Voyant Photonics at www.VoyantPhotonics.com.
So that’s your weekly Friday 5, 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.
Thank you for tuning into CBT News for this week’s Friday Five, and we’ll see you next week!
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