Smartcar Raises $10M to Develop Connected Car Platform

Connected car technology platform provider Smartcar announced it has raised $10 million in Series A financing led by venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates (NEA), with participation from Andreessen Horowitz.

Smartcar is focused on removing barriers to entry into automotive telematics by making it safer and easier to connect to vehicles. Specifically, the company is developing a series of APIs, software development kits (SDKs), and documentation that developers need to build connected car applications.

“From car sharing and fleet management, to smart parking and insurance, developers are using the Smartcar platform to pioneer a truly connected automotive world,” Sahas Katta, co-founder and CEO, said in a March 1 statement.

Katta explained Smartcar was founded 2015 after he became frustrated trying to figure out how to get a mobile app to connect to a vehicle, noting that although many cars are web-connected, there has not been an easy way for developers to integrate with them.

Smartcar’s developer tools remove the friction that OEMs and app developers encounter when trying to create better integrations between web apps and digital vehicle systems.

The company’s connected car platform lets developers read vehicle data and send commands using HTTP requests to any vehicles in a single engineering effort.

Smartcar, headquartered in Mountain View, Calif., uses the OAuth2 authorization framework, which allows applications to gain authorization to interact with vehicles using the Smartcar API.

By taking advantage of embedded telematics hardware already present in vehicles, developers can use Smartcar’s suite of SDKs and comprehensive API docs to build apps to communicate with vehicles.

The $10 million haul follows a previous $2 million round of seed financing from Andreessen Horowitz, bringing the company’s total financing raised to date to $12 million.

In addition, Smartcar announced Forest Baskett from NEA and William Krause from Andreessen Horowitz will join the company’s board of directors.

NEA invests in technology and healthcare companies at all stages in a company’s lifecycle, from seed stage through IPO and boasts $20 billion in cumulative committed capital since its founding in 1977.

Late last year Hyundai Motor America announced a partnership with Smartcar to let their customers use new digital experiences built on the startup’s platform with their vehicles starting early 2018.

At Automobility LA, an industry trade show converging the technology and automotive industries, the company showcased one of the first developers using Smartcar’s platform, a mobility service called Washos which lets Hyundai owners order a car wash in just a few clicks from a mobile app.

Using Smartcar API platform, Washos can now locate a customer’s Hyundai vehicle for a wash and use a temporary digital key to unlock the doors to clean the interior.

Earlier in 2017 the company teamed up with BMW Group to enable developers to access select data from vehicles, which have built-in SIM cards for data connectivity.

The range of applications includes insurance, expense tracking, smart home, gas stations and mobility services.

— Nathan Eddy is a filmmaker and freelance journalist based in Berlin. Follow him on Twitter @dropdeaded209_LR.

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