Relationships with Daimler AG and other manufacturers are being setup
Israeli startup otonomo closed a $12 million Series A funding round on Tuesday, led by Bessemer Venture Partners and StageOne Ventures, to advance technology that supports data sharing and monetization in connected and autonomous cars. This brings its total capital raised since 2015 to $15 million through Bessemer, StageOne, and other investors including Maniv Mobility and LocalGlobe.
otonomo, founded in 2015 by Ben Volkow and Avner Cohen, is already working with original equipment manufacturers (OEM) and car service providers to develop cloud-based solutions “to monetize car data in a safe, controlled and secured manner” while offering “new in-car services” to drivers. Its vision is for a vast software as a service (SaaS) platform for the Connected Car 2.0 ecosystem accessible to manufacturers, insurers, retailers, and other entities. otonomo also invests in vehicle-to-vehicle technology with data exchange that lets autonomous cars “connect to digital infrastructures and exchange data in real time with other connected and autonomous cars.”
The money will go towards further developing otonomo’s product line and scaling up for potential growth now that it has established relationships with other firms.
“In order for cars to provide the best connected service for drivers,” notes CEO and Co-Founder Ben Volkow, “car manufacturers need a platform they trust to share and negotiate data between them and application providers.” The company can also count on experienced managers from General Motors, AT&T, and OnStar as it hires more talent to expand its operations.
How secure would such a platform be?
Privacy considerations feature heavily into these plans, given the huge amount of personal information that would be contained in the cloud for corporate entities, academic institutions, and regulatory bodies to go over.
By 2020, there are expected to be 250 million smart cars on the roads worldwide, and the market as a whole will be worth nearly $47 billion. This will entail new combinations of companies and practices, from manufacturing to marketing, to meet demand. With respect to insurers, for example, adjusting to this ecosystem entails “incorporating mobile sensors and analytics into their products and services, enlarging the customer data pool, digitizing customer interfaces, and building up internal digital know-how and capabilities.”
otonomo, like other Israeli companies developing new tools and business models for smart car markets, may not have a large domestic automotive industry to build off of as firms in Japan, Europe, or the US do. However, it has successfully expanded into foreign partnerships with big name companies. This past summer, otonomo joined the Startup Autobahn project’s accelerator training program on “the future of mobility” led by Daimler AG and a consortium of German research institutions.