Smartcar, an API developer platform for connected vehicles, has closed $24 million in Series B financing led by Energize Ventures with follow-on participation from Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) and New Enterprise Associates (NEA). Empowering developers to integrate software applications and services with connected cars, Smartcar will leverage this new funding to further grow its U.S. operations and accelerate its expansion to the European market.
Smartcar is the brainchild of brothers Sahas and Sanketh Katta, who experienced the lack of developer resources and rampant data fragmentation in the automotive industry first-hand. Despite newer vehicles’ built-in internet connectivity, manufacturers did not publish standard interfaces (API), software development kits (SDKs) or documentation for third-party developers, resigning mobility businesses to retrofit cars with clunky, inaccurate, and expensive telematics devices. With Smartcar, applications seamlessly connect with cars through the cloud to request location, verify mileage, share digital car keys, manage electric vehicle (EV) charging, and more. Smartcar’s APIs are compatible with 22 different vehicle makes in 31 countries across North America and Europe, enabling businesses to connect to over 112 million cars globally.
“Even as the automotive industry shifts toward connected vehicles, integrating apps with cars remains painfully difficult,” said Sanketh Katta, CTO and co-founder of Smartcar. “We knew the industry was missing a key piece of the puzzle, so we founded Smartcar to democratize connected car data and empower developers to create the next generation of mobility products and services.”
Utilities and managed-charging platforms use Smartcar to optimize EV charging, reduce strain on the grid and transition to cleaner energy. Usage-based insurance companies leverage Smartcar to offer drivers more equitable and affordable insurance premiums. Tolling solution providers like Emovis and Azuga rely on Smartcar to deploy software-based Road Usage Charge (RUC) programs — charging EV owners by miles driven versus a flat fee — for a more fair and sustainable solution to drivers and municipalities.
Turo, the world’s largest peer-to-peer car sharing marketplace, relies on Smartcar’s APIs to seamlessly locate and unlock vehicles for guests right from the Turo app. “As a pioneer in the sharing economy and travel industry, Turo is always looking for new ways to put the world’s 1.5 billion cars to better use,” said Andre Haddad, CEO of Turo. “Smartcar is making it easier than ever for us to build innovative mobility experiences with connected cars.”
“The mobility sector is undergoing a transformation as the shift towards digitization and electrification scales,” said John Tough, managing partner at Energize Ventures. “By next year, 90% of all new cars sold will be internet-connected – up from just 20% in 2018. As more software applications emerge to serve the increasing number of connected and electric vehicles on the road, Smartcar is well-positioned as the leading API platform for developers across a wide breadth of mobility-focused industries.”
With the latest round of funding, Smartcar plans to extend the capabilities of its platform by introducing new vehicle telemetry APIs and broadening compatibility with even more car brands. In conjunction, Smartcar adds John Tough, managing partner at Energize Ventures, to the board, opening lanes of access to strategic partners and demonstrated commercialization support to accelerate Smartcar’s growth. John Tough is the newest addition to Smartcar’s board, which includes Forest Basket, general partner at NEA, and Bill Krause, board partner at Andreessen Horowitz.
“In the last year, we’ve seen rapid adoption of digital mobility services by early-stage startups and Fortune 500 companies alike. By unifying connected car data with an exceptional developer experience, Smartcar’s platform enables innovators to reimagine automotive services and trailblaze new mobility categories. The future of mobility continues to be an exciting and transformative space,” said Smartcar CEO Sahas Katta.