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 auto tech and mobility spaces, so let’s get right into this week’s deals.
Arc Boat Company
This is our second week in a row with an electric boat deal.
Last week we reported that General Motors bought a 25% stake in Pure Watercraft, valuing the electric boat startup at $600 million dollars.
This week, Arc Boat Company, which is not even a year old, but has attracted investment from top VC firm Andreessen Horowitz, entertainment industry big wigs and now a $30 million dollar raise led by Eclipse Ventures. Existing investors — Andreessen Horowitz, Lowercarbon Capital and Abstract Ventures also joined.
Arc Boat Company, a startup that launched 10 months ago with the goal to eventually electrify all mobility on the water, is starting with a limited-edition $300,000 dollar boat.
Arc has plans that expand beyond building and selling a couple of dozen high-priced boats. But at least in the near term, Arc is focused on delivering the Arc One.
In the EV infrastructure space this week, Ionity, an electric vehicle fast-charging charging network provider whose owners include Daimler and Volkswagen, has raised a €700 million Euros (or $783 million dollars) investment from BlackRock Global.
Founded in 2017, Ionity was launched as a joint venture between a coalition of major automakers that includes Hyundai, Ford, and BMW.
The investment will allow Ionity to increase the number of charging points to 7,000 by 2025 — a more than a four-fold increase from the 1,500 that are installed today.
The new charging stations will be situated on highways and other major roads as well as near major cities. Six to 12 charging points will be at each location. The firm is also planning on adding more charging points to existing sites with high demand.
Ionity’s planned expansion includes owning and operating full-service stations for drivers to “recharge” while charging their vehicles. These stations, a concept it’s calling “Oasis,” are similar to roadside rest stops today.
BlackRock’s participation in this round is a sign that institutional investors are increasingly interested in decarbonization technologies.
actnano, a global leader in surface protection technologies for automotive and consumer electronics, announced the close of an oversubscribed $21.75 million dollar Series B financing led by BMW i Ventures.
Additional new investors include HELLA Ventures and TDK Ventures. All Series A investors, including Emerald Technology Ventures, GC Ventures America, Henkel Tech Ventures, Ireon Ventures and Material Impact, also participated in the round.
actnano specializes in water and environmental resistant nanocoating technologies.
The company’s innovative surface protection solutions are trusted by global automotive and consumer electronics OEMs and Tier-1 suppliers.
actnano’s nanoGUARD technologies are currently protecting electronics on over 2 million production vehicles, including 80% of EVs in North America, as well as many of the world’s leading consumer devices.
actnano will use the new funds to expand its global sales and technical teams, as well as ramp up production to meet the significant increase in demand for their product.
In international news this week, U.K.-based Motorway raised a $190 million dollar Series C funding round led by Index Ventures and ICONIQ Growth. Existing investors Latitude Ventures, Unbound, and BMW i Ventures also participated in the round. The startup is now claiming a valuation of over $1 billion dollars.
On Motorway, consumers can sell their car via a smartphone app that also uses computer vision to assess the state of the car. The cars are then bid on by professional car dealers in a daily online auction, with the car collected for free by the winning dealer within 24 hours. Given it’s also a “contactless” process, dealers and car owners increasingly seeking to buy and sell cars online.
Motorway says it now has a network of 4,000 professional car dealers using the platform and claims it has booked a 300% uplift in third-quarter sales to $411 million dollars compared with $105 million dollars last year. Some 100,000 used cars have been sold on Motorway since launch, with over 8,000 cars currently being sold a month, with over $2 billion dollars in projected completed sales over the next year.
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: AutoCorp Technologies and TailHand.
First up, we have AutoCorp Technologies.
Autocorp Technologies is a fintech company specializing in solutions for the automotive industry. By offering a suite of digital retailing products primarily focused on credit and financial services, Autocorp delivers dealer solutions to increase volume and profitability.
Their AVA Trade product is an interactive trade tool powered by Kelly Blue Book that allows your online shoppers to value their current vehicle in seconds. Seamlessly integrated with AVA Credit, turning online visitors to fresh trade-in & credit leads for your dealership.
Their AVA Credit product, powered by Equifax, provides dealers with consumer credit range, recent inquiries and auto tradeline information through soft-pull technology with no impact to the customer’s score.
Check out AutoCorp Technologies at Autocorp.ai.
Our second company to watch this week is TailHand.
I had a chance to catch up with TailHand at this year’s SEMA conference, at which they won the 2021 Best New Truck Product of the Year by the SEMA Truck & Off-Road Alliance.
TailHand Transforms your tailgate into a reliable and highly versatile mobile workstation, so you can do more with confidence and precision. TailHand provides pickup truck users a stable and reliable way to work directly from their tailgate while improving their productivity and safety.
If you have a pickup truck with a tailgate, take a look at TailHand. It’s a very innovative product that is sure to catch on.
Check out TailHand at TailHand.com
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.
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