5 Connected Vehicle Technology Startups
In a recent article, we demystified some of the terminology used to describe the Internet of Things (IoT), a technology that promises to connect all the devices around us and ultimately make the world a better place. If that utopian vision doesn’t come to fruition, then at least marketing people everywhere will have more “big data” on their hands than they know what to do with so that they become more effective at selling consumers
stuff they don’t need value-added products and services. One promising area for IoT connectivity is that of the “connected vehicle”.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, in 2013 there were over 255 million registered roadworthy vehicles in American alone. This translates to about 1.3 people for every car in the U.S. with Americans driving an average of 29.2 miles per day, making two trips with an average total duration of 46 minutes. Americans spend a lot of time driving, and the routes they take, the speed they drive at, and the health of their vehicle are all data points that a “connected vehicle” could upload to “the cloud“. We’ve written before about “connected car” startups like Metromile with pay-as-you-go auto insurance and Automatic Labs with their adaptor that streams real-time data from your car’s computer and sensors to your phone. Now let’s take a look at 3 more companies developing “connected vehicle” technology solutions.
Profound “Connected Car” Slogan: “Get a Connected Car Without Buying a New One“
Founded in 2012, South Carolina based Zubie has taken in almost $20 million so far from corporate investors like Best Buy, Nokia, and Castrol. Aside from the usual connected car value propositions like “installs seamlessly for any car built after 1996”, “automatic vehicle trip logs”, and “check engine light diagnostics from your phone”, this device also offers real-time location tracking. This value proposition is targeted at families and commercial vehicle fleets. As for cost, Zubie just gives you the device but then hits you with an affordable “yearly service payment” or if you purchase the in-car WiFi add-on, a monthly payment to use their platform as seen below:
Zubie has figured out that the actual devices used to read from a car’s information port (OBDII port) are starting to become a dime a dozen. What’s more important is to get users on their platform which will drive recurring monthly payments. Interestingly enough, Zubie doesn’t offer MPG tracking. Does this mean another connected car startup owns some intellectual property that prevents Zubie from offering the same functionality?
Profound “Connected Car” Slogan: “Your Connected Car”
Founded in 2012, Palo Alto-based Mojio has taken in $10.3 million so far from corporate investors like Amazon and Deutsche Telekom. Mojio Drive is a fast-growing ecosystem of Mojio compatible connected car apps that connect you and your car to your favorite people, places and things. Like Zubie, Mojio has also figured out that they won’t be able to charge a premium up-front price for their device:
Since the device comes with one year service, you’re essentially paying $50 for the device since each month after the first year is billed at $4.95 a month. In exchange for that monthly payment, you’re getting access to a platform with over 20 apps that help you do everything from avoiding parking tickets to finding repair shops. Some of the apps are free and some are paid. Just because certain apps are offered on the Mojio platform, it doesn’t mean you have to purchase a Mojio device to use them. “Spot Angels”, an app offered by Mojio that helps you avoid parking tickets, also supports other ODBII device providers like Automatic and Zubie and can even work without an ODBII device by just using the accelerometer on your phone.
Profound “Connected Car” Slogan: “Smarter Driving, Every Day”
Founded in 2012, Dash has taken in just $1.5 million to develop their connected vehicle platform. Dash takes a different direction with their business model by not just offering their own device and platform like their competitors, but by offering a platform that supports multiple devices like the ones below:
This is a good move by Dash. The #4 seller in the category “Automotive” on Amazon is the BAFX Products 34t5 Bluetooth OBDII Scan Tool which sells for just $21.99. This is just one of many OBDII devices being sold at a price point well below the typical $99 price point we’ve seen before from companies like “Automatic Labs“. It seems like the actual devices have become a commodity and the winning “connected vehicle” startup will be the one with the most monthly subscriptions to their app platform. Dash offers the usual “connected car value propositions” on their app.
The technology behind “connected cars” is a game changer. It’s only a matter of time before all vehicles are “connected vehicles” and the term dies out. When you refer to a “vehicle”, you don’t have to say “connected” because they all are. Connected vehicle technology enables you to become self-sufficient on the road, saves you money, and as this Zubie user can testify, it even caters to the millennial driver:
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