Startup Of The Week

Startup Of The Week: Otonomo

Startup Otonomo

Now, more than ever, traditional companies are looking for new business models and revenue streams. Enter Otonomo, an Israeli startup that has developed a car data services platform that ingests automotive OEM data, then reshapes, enriches and protects it so companies from a dozen industries can use the data to develop apps and services for fleets, smart cities and individual consumers. The platform has collected data from over 20 million vehicles and the company is partnering with more than 25 automotive OEMs, fleets, and farm and construction equipment OEMs. Partners include Daimler, BMW, Mitsubishi Motor Company and Avis Budget Group .The Otonomo ecosystem includes more than 100 partners who offer a whole variety of services based on that data. “We’re focused on the broader possibilities for car data to shape many types of businesses,” says Otonomo CEO Ben Votow, a serial entrepreneur.

Beyond automotive manufacturer use cases such as remote diagnostics and predictive maintenance and insurance applications such as usage-based policies and accident reconstruction, uses of Otonomo’s data include:

  • Fleet management: Optimizing workloads and routes based on real-time conditions on the road.
  • Apps for parking payments, subscription-based fueling, and EV charging:.
  • Electric vehicle (EV) trip planning: apps which give EV owners a way to plan their trips around charging needs, so they shorten their time on the road and avoid “range anxiety”
  • Concierge services such as apps that help drivers with roadside assistance, real-time hazard notifications, “vehicle-as-a-wallet,” on-demand car washing, and even package deliveries directly to a car owner’s trunk.
  • Road usage tax: A service that allows the car itself to make payments.
Otonomo CEO Ben Voltow

In addition, service providers are using Otonomo’s aggregate, de-identified data for traffic optimization, smart cities and media measurement,including radio listening and exposure to out-of-home advertising, according to Otonomo.

For example, Otonomo has been publicly partnering with BMW since October 2019, when the two companies announced that telematics data from “millions of BMW and MINI vehicles” would be made available for service providers to use on Otonomo’s Data Services Platform. The partnership was expanded in April to make additional crowd data available for smart cities, real-time traffic information, and other solutions that improve the driving experience. New types of data that BMW and Mini vehicles will be contributing will include:

· Parking: Aggregated ultrasonic sensor data from BMW vehicles can be used to identify open parking spots and estimate parking availability. Services that use this data can dramatically decrease urban congestion and alleviate one of the most frustrating moments in drivers’ city trips.

· Urban planning for smart cities: The content and location of road signs detected by forward cameras from BMW Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) enrich the understanding of traffic flows through urban environments and highways.

· Real-time intelligence: Real-time traffic information and navigation services and apps can use BMW data to highlight areas of congestion and help drivers find the fastest routes.

· Local hazard warning services: BMW local hazard data provides a way to alert drivers of dangerous road conditions — including heavy rain or dense fog — through mapping and navigation services. In addition, information on dynamic signage can issue warnings on slowdowns, slippery roads, or ice.

· Mapping services: Road sign and ultra-sonic sensordata keep critical road information updated. This includes speed limits shown on road signs and temporary road and speed changes caused by construction work.

· Municipal maintenance and road optimization: Analytics can use BMW road sign data to identify signs that are missing or damaged and even trigger repair orders.

Otonomo says privacy by design is at the core of its platform, enabling GDPR and other privacy-regulation-compliant solutions using both personal and aggregate data.

On April 30 Otonomo, which has an R&D center in Israel, and a presence in the United States, Europe, and Japan, announced that it had raised $46 million in series C venture funding from investors that include SK Holdings, Avis Budget Group, and Alliance Ventures, the strategic venture capital fund of Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, the world’s largest automotive alliance.. The latest round brings the company’s total funding raised to $82 million.

Otonomo is currently onboarding seven new OEMs and ingesting over 2.6 billion data points a day. To accommodate this increased demand, the company said it will use the fresh funds to further scale its business and boost R&D and the full-service customer support resources needed to facilitate OEM onboarding and data access by partners. The company also plans to expand into additional geographies.

Competitors include Mojio, a Canadian connected car platform that uses machine learning to generate actionable insights, with the stated aim of “unlocking the next generation of revenue streams for companies throughout the automotive value chain.” It raised a $40 million B round in 2019, including strategic investments from Assurant, a leading provider of vehicle protection services and extended warranties; Bosch, a top tier-one supplier to the global automotive industry and T-Mobile. Mojio also secured re-investment from the Series A round syndicate, including Amazon Alexa Fund.

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About the author

Jennifer L. Schenker

Jennifer L. Schenker, an award-winning journalist, has been covering the global tech industry from Europe since 1985, working full-time, at various points in her career for the Wall Street Journal Europe, Time Magazine, International Herald Tribune, Red Herring and BusinessWeek. She is currently the editor-in-chief of The Innovator, an English-language global publication about the digital transformation of business. Jennifer was voted one of the 50 most inspiring women in technology in Europe in 2015 and 2016 and was named by Forbes Magazine in 2018 as one of the 30 women leaders disrupting tech in France. She has been a World Economic Forum Tech Pioneers judge for 20 years. She lives in Paris and has dual U.S. and French citizenship.