The automotive industry has faced more disruption in the last 10 years than it has over the last 100 years. The core drivers of this change, including things like electrification and mobility, have been well documented, with autonomous driving taking the lion’s share of the headlines as the main area of innovation.
However, there is disruption and innovation across the whole industry impacting all areas from manufacturing and ownership to new models of car insurance. While some of this innovation is coming from the manufacturers themselves, there is a whole wave of new startups capitalising on new technologies such as machine learning and blockchain that are finding huge opportunities to change the status quo.
It is worth noting that nearly all of the major automotive brands now operate their own venture capital arms, scouting out and investing in the startups that show the greatest potential. Strategically it means they can stay close to disruption and react accordingly.
There are 100’s of interesting startups in the automotive space but here are 5 worth noting:
Urgently – www.geturgently.com
Urgently is taking a fresh approach to roadside assistance. Instead of of charging annual membership, the service allows users to call assistance on demand and pay for the specific service required. Operating a bit like Uber, it will find available services near to you, giving the possibility of faster and more extensive support.
Urgently has signed some interesting partnerships, which include BMW, who are using the Urgently service as part of the official branded roadside recovery. Currently only available in the US, Urgently has raised $39M and is looking to expand its offering into new markets and potentially the business fleet sector.
Automotive Marketing & Advertising
StoryStream – www.storystream.ai
Car advertising and marketing hasn’t really changed for the past 30 years, with the lions share of spending still seen in TV and print. However with the explosion of digital channels including social media, coupled with a more informed and savvy buyer, the volume of authentic content needed to engage audiences is growing exponentially. This is putting automotive marketing teams and their budgets under huge pressure.
StoryStream is a smart content platform that is helping some of the world’s biggest automotive brands create more authentic and personalised marketing experiences for customers. The innovative platform uses AI to help brands automate a lot of the processes around sourcing, creating and publishing digital content. This saves huge marketing resource costs while giving targeted audiences more relevant content, leading to more engagement and leads.
The UK based company has raised over £3m in venture capital and is working with brands including Porsche, Toyota and Volvo globally.
Turo – www.turo.com
Are the days waiting for hours at a busy car rental desk finally over? Turo thinks it has the answer. Describing itself as “a car sharing marketplace where guests can book any car they want, wherever they want it”, Turo has created something akin to ‘AirBnB for cars’.
The US based startup has over 350,000 cars available on the platform to rent directly from owners and the mobile app takes care of sorting payment and arranging handover. According to Crunchbase Turo has raised over $184m including backing from Daimler.
Used Car Purchase
Cazoo is the new venture from the founders of UK property marketplace Zoopla which sold for $2.2billion in 2018. Using their considerable experience and resources in creating digital marketplaces, the team’s next venture is called Cazoo and is looking to disrupt the used car sector.
Cazoo hasn’t officially launched yet but promises to add transparency and easier ways to find and purchase a used car, the market remains relatively buoyant in the UK with over 8 million used car sold each year. By adding things like online payments and a 7 day return policy, Cazoo has the opportunity to make quite an impact. Based on the founders track record you wouldn’t bet against them!
Cuvva – www.cuvva.com
Car insurance startup Cuvva provides short term, pay-as-you-go car insurance offering cover over time periods as little as one hour. This means people can easily get cover for shorter time periods when they may be doing things like borrowing a friends car. This approach is a long way from the costly and complex traditional model of annual car insurance.
Cuvva has raised £2m in seed money and is focusing in the UK market place.