Auto-Tech Transactions (04/11 – 04/15):

Vehicle Connectivity:

Hivemapper, the creator of a global, decentralized mapping network with a crypto-integrated dashcam, announced an $18 million Series A round led by Multicoin Capital. The new funds will be used to support Hivemapper’s mainnet launch this summer, onboard more map contributors, and deliver the company’s first crypto-integrated dashcam, the Hivemapper Dashcam, which is available for pre-order for $449 effective immediately with shipping to begin in July 2022. The Hivemapper Dashcam is the world’s first crypto-miner dashcam. It natively integrates with the Hivemapper Network through a seamless mobile app and puts mapping on autopilot with automatic uploads. Simply install the Hivemapper Dashcam in your car, drive, and mine HONEY for collecting 4K street-level imagery and growing a decentralized map of our world. (Link to article)

F&I Tech:

U.K.-based Carmoola has raised £27 million in funding from Jaguar Land Rover investment fund InMotion Ventures, VentureFriends, BCI and Clocktower Technology Ventures and plans to use it to roll out an app that will issue car finance approvals in 60 seconds and facilitate flexible repayments. Carmoola claims to “cut out the middleman”, saving buyers money with better value finance and serving up discounts for choosing green cars while breaking the rigidity of traditional contracts. (Link to article)Sigo Seguros, the insurtech startup determined to close the insurance gap within Latinx and immigrant communities, announced that it has raised $5.4 million in its seed funding round, co-led by Listen Ventures and Chingona Ventures. This announcement comes just 10 months after the company completed its pre-seed financing for $1.5 million. Sigo Seguros has created an innovative auto insurance product that removes predatory fees and biased rate factors that disproportionately affect minorities. The company’s underwriting process does not factor in immigration status, credit score, level of education, or type of employment. (Link to article)

Autonomy & Robotics:

Bosch announced it is acquiring Five AI, the autonomous driving startup that started with big ambitions to build and operate its own fleet of robotaxis but ultimately pivoted to focusing on technology development as a B2B play. (Link to article)AV technology startup Steer has been hyperfocused on providing high-level autonomy for one specific use case: automated parking. The startup has secured at least two OEM partnerships to embed its parking tech as a feature for passenger vehicles, but now it’s expanding on that original thesis and moving into the commercial sector. Steer has raised $1.5 million in funding from the North Central Texas Council of Governments to develop a testbed at the Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport that will demonstrate how an automated parking ecosystem might alleviate the high traffic and heavily congested curbside drop-off and pick-up areas at the airport, particularly as air travel and, consequently, the use of ride-hailing services, picks up. (Link to article)

Shared Mobility & Subscription:

Swiggy has led a $180 million financing round into bike taxi startup Rapido as the Indian food delivery giant looks to broaden its fleet network across the country. Rapido’s Series D financing round also saw participation from TVS Motor Company and existing investors WestBridge, Shell Ventures and Nexus Ventures. The new round values Rapido at over $800 million. The six-year-old startup offers its two-wheeler service in about 100 Indian cities. Rapido, which has raised $310 million to date, says it has amassed over 25 million customers and 1.5 million driver-partners who it calls “captains”. (Link to article)

Vehicle Assembly, Supply Chain & Logistics:

SmartHop, a startup that uses AI to help interstate truckers make their routes more efficient and lucrative by removing administrative headaches, just raised a $30 million Series B financing round, bringing the company’s total funding to $46 million following a $12 million Series A last year. (Link to article)ShipIn Systems, the world’s first Visual Fleet Management Platform, announced an investment by Munich Re Ventures. By deploying AI-powered cameras and real-time visual analytics, ShipIn proactively alerts shipowners, managers, and seafarers to onboard anomalies around bridge activities, safety and security, cargo operations and maintenance. With real-time notifications, benchmarking of vessel performance, and remote audits, ShipIn delivers a reduction of 40% in incidents and increases cargo operations efficiency by 8%, directly improving the financial performance of global fleets. (Link to article)

Electrification & Alternative Fuels:

AAM – American Axle & Manufacturing is acquiring Tekfor USA in a deal valued at more than $135 million as the Detroit-based automotive supplier expands its electrification portfolio. (Link to article)Blue Current, Inc. announced that Koch Industries Strategic Platforms (KSP) has invested $30 million to accelerate commercialization of the company’s technology and build its first megawatt-scale factory in California. (Link to article)Feasible Inc., a leading battery manufacturing intelligence company, announced closing its $8 million Series A round, co-led by Good Growth Capital and The University of Tokyo Edge Capital Partners. This funding will be used to accelerate and expand product deployment to battery manufacturers and automakers who are focused on improving electric vehicle battery cost, performance, and reliability. This funding coincides with the announcement of a new name: Liminal.  (Link to article)Electric mobility startup Shift EV has closed a total of USD $9 million in funding. Shift EV converts your full delivery fleet into EVs in a matter of days — at no up-front cost. The company has developed a retrofitting process based on proprietary Lego-like, locally manufactured batteries that can turn any conventional vehicle into an EV. It takes less than a few hours per vehicle to do the conversion. (Link to article)e-Zinc, a Toronto-based company enabling sustainable, long-duration energy storage with its zinc-air battery, raised USD $25m in Series A financing. The round was led by Anzu Partners. The company intends to use the funds to commence the pilot production of its first commercial energy storage systems for field deployment. e-Zinc is a zinc-air battery company whose energy storage system can operate in cold and hot climates, is made of abundant and recyclable materials, and can be up to 80 percent less expensive than comparable lithium-ion systems for long-duration applications. (Link to article)

Air Mobility & Space:

Tokyo-based ALI Technologies was founded as a drone maker in 2016 before moving on to more ambitious ventures, opening sales of its Xturismo Limited bike in October. The $777,000 single-person transporter can hit a max speed of 80kmh (50mph) and travel up to 40 minutes per charge. The company has selected lead underwriters for an IPO on Tokyo’s Mothers market for startups in what will be the country’s first debut of its kind (Link to article)