Last Week’s Auto-Tech Transactions (01/24 – 01/28):

Dealer Tech & Auto Commerce:

Cazoo has announced the acquisition of Italian online used car retail and subscription player brumbrum. The €80 million deal is comprised of a mix of cash and Cazoo shares. Cazoo was founded in 2018 and launched just a short two years ago, has a staff of 3,800 across the UK, France, Germany, Spain, and Portugal, and has seen over 50,000 vehicle transactions pass through its (virtual) showroom. (Link to article)


Vehicle Connectivity:

Connected vehicle platform company Sibros announced its $70 million Series B funding round led by Energy Impact Partners with participation from Fontinalis Partners, Google, Iron Pillar, Qualcomm Ventures and existing investors Nexus Venture Partners and Moneta Ventures. The funding will be used to fuel the company’s expansion to meet strong global demand and deliver large customer deployments of its vertically integrated connected vehicle platform. (Link to article)


Shared Mobility & Subscription:

DKV Mobility, a fleet-services firm part-owned by CVC Capital Partners, is considering an initial public offering that could value it at more than 3 billion euros ($3.4 billion). The German company is working with an adviser to evaluate a potential listing in the second half of the year. DKV is majority-owned by its family shareholders. CVC agreed to buy a 20% stake in the business in 2018 for an undisclosed amount. The company has issued more than 5 million cards to commercial drivers across Europe that can be used to pay for everything from fuel to tolls. Transaction values topped 9 billion euros in 2020, according to DKV’s website. It employs more than 1,300 people. (Link to article)Uber has acquired Australian start-up Car Next Door, paying an undisclosed sum for the popular car-sharing service. Car Next Door allows people to borrow cars for short-term loans – and to rent out their own car to make additional income from unused vehicles. (Link to article)



Addionics has raised $27 Million in funding to scale up the development of next-generation batteries with Smart 3D Electrodes. The funding round was led by Deep Insight, and included both Catalyst Fund and Delek Motors Ltd. Additional investors include Novelis, Magna International, JX Nippon Mining & Metals, USA. Inc., Union Tech Ventures, 8090 Partners , GITV LTD, Talcar, Bridges Israel impact investment fund, and Doral Energy Tech Ventures (Doral Energy CVC). Existing investors that participated in the round include Next Gear Ventures and Vasuki Global Tech Fund. (Link to article)Ola Electric has raised $200 million in a new financing round. TEKNE srl, Alpine Opportunity Fund and Edelweiss Wealth Management are among those that financed the new round, which values Ola Electric at $5 billion, up from $3 billion in September last year. (Link to article)InCharge Energy, the fleet electrification services leader, has sold a majority interest in the company to longtime partner ABB. An early investor in InCharge, ABB has increased its stake to 60%. InCharge Energy will maintain its leadership team and tech neutrality as it joins ABB’s E-Mobility Division. According to ABB, this transaction makes a significant impact on its growing portfolio of E-mobility service offerings. InCharge Energy’s reliable, turnkey charging infrastructure solutions, robust software platform (In-Control) and roster of bold-name customers made it an attractive investment for ABB. Financial terms of this agreement were not disclosed. (Link to article)Once an industry with long development cycles, the automotive space is being upended by China’s tech giants. One can hardly keep up with all the new electric vehicle brands that come out of the country nowadays. JiDU, an electric carmaking company founded by Baidu, Inc. and its Chinese auto partner GEELY only a year ago, has raised nearly $400 million in a Series A funding round. The new injection, bankrolled by Baidu and Geely, which owns Volvo Group, is a boost to the $300 million initiation capital that Jidu closed last March. The proceeds will speed up Jidu’s R&D and mass production process and allow it to showcase its first concept “robocar” — which it classifies as an automotive robot rather than a car — at the Beijing auto show in April. The mass-produced version of the robocar will launch in 2023. (Link to article)



May Mobility, a self-driving shuttle startup backed by the venture arms of Toyota Motor Corporation and BMW Group, raised $83 million in its largest funding round to date. The Series C funding round was led by Mirai Creation Fund/SPARX Group. New investors included insurance company Tokio Marine HCC, and Toyota Tsusho Corporation, Toyota’s trading arm. (Link to article)Electric Sheep Robotics has announced a $21.5 million Series A round, bringing its full funding up to $25.7 million to date. The round was led by Tiger Global Management, with participation from Foundation Capital, which led the Bay Area firm’s $4 million seed round. Electric Sheep’s approach to the space is novel, similar to what (John Deere-owned) Bear Flag Robotics is doing for tractors. Their product named Dexter, which hits general availability today, retrofits new and existing commercial mowers with autonomous capability. (Link to article)Starship Technologies, one of the bigger names in the world of autonomous delivery robots — those little caboose-like, boxy delivery vehicles that self-drive around cities — has been on a roll during COVID-19, providing extra (unmanned) horsepower to distribute food and other goods between stores or restaurants and consumers, at a time when consumers were either reluctant or being ordered to stay at home to minimize the spread of the virus. Starship has received €50 million (just under $57 million) from the European Investment Bank (EIB), the funding arm of the European Union. Starship Technologies is describing this as a “quasi-equity facility”, meaning there is a venture loan involved in the mix. It is not disclosing its valuation with this investment. (Link to article)By now, many of us are familiar with the warehouse robots that populate those vast spaces occupied by the likes of Amazon and others. In particular, Amazon was very much a pioneer of the technology. But it’s 2022 now, and allying warehouse robots with a software logistics platform is no longer the monopoly of one company. One late-stage startup which has been “making hay” with the whole idea is Paack, an e-commerce delivery platform with a sophisticated software platform that integrates with the robotics that are essential to modern-day logistics operations. It’s now raised €200 million ($225 million) in a Series D funding round led by SoftBank Group Corp. Vision Fund 2. The capital will be used for product development and European expansion. New participants for this round also include InfraVia Capital Partners and ENDEAVOR CATALYST INC. Returning investors include Unbound, Kibo Ventures, Big Sur Ventures, RPS Ventures, Fuse Venture Partners, Rider Global, Castel Capital and Inaki Berenguer. (Link to article)Owl Autonomous Imaging (Owl AI), a developer of patented monocular 3D thermal imaging and ranging solutions for automotive active safety systems, today announced $15 million in Series A funding led by State Farm Ventures®. Additional participation in the round included Excell Partners, Luminate NY Accelerator, Empire State Development, MHNW Consortium, Dr. Sanjay Jha, (former CEO of both GlobalFoundries and Motorola Mobility), as well as others. The foundation of Owl’s patented technology is an adaptation of a thermal ranging solution developed under a challenge grant from the US Air Force to track missiles in flight traveling at over 1,000 mph. The solution to Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and Autonomous Vehicles (AV) requires redundancy and diversity, maximized across a 3D image map. Owl has developed a patented 3D Thermal Ranging™ camera, the world’s only solid-state camera delivering HD thermal video with high precision ranging for safe autonomous vehicle operation. (Link to article)



Wisk Aero LLC this week said it has secured $450 million in funding from Boeing. Wisk Aero described itself as an “advanced air mobility” (AAM) company. The company began in 2010 as Zee Aero and later merged with Kitty Hawk Corp. Wisk claimed that it has achieved a number of aviation and industry firsts, including the first flight of an autonomous all-electric, vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft designed for passenger use in the U.S. Wisk said it has expertise in autonomous, electric flight, including insights from the development of five generations of aircraft over the past decade. The company, which also has offices in New Zealand, said it has conducted more than 1,500 test flights. (Link to article)


Commercial Vehicle Tech & Logistics:

BasicBlock, a financial technology company that is reshaping financing options for the trucking industry, announced a $78 million debt and equity raise, to fuel expanded services, client support and employment opportunities throughout the U.S. Lead investors and lenders in the round include Autotech Ventures, Clear Haven Capital Management, LLC, Emergent Ventures, and Nelnet alongside continued investment from Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, SaaS Ventures and TNT Ventures. (Link to article)



Laka has raised a $12 million Series A round, led by US mobility investor Autotech Ventures with participation from sustainable mobility and energy fund Ponooc, a Dutch sustainable mobility investor with close ties to Pon, alongside ABN AMRO Ventures. Existing investors including CREANDUM, LocalGlobe, 1818 Venture Capital and Elkstone Partners followed on. Angel investment came from Zwift CEO and co-founder Eric Min. Laka will use the new capital to expand across Europe, launching in Belgium, France and Germany in the first half of 2022 to service retail partners on the back of recently won partnerships including Randstad, Raleigh UK Ltd, Le Col and Decathlon International. Already insuring last-mile delivery companies including Zapp, Jiffy and Urb-it, Laka will now expand to cover commercial fleets Europe-wide. (Link to article)The pandemic spurred a boom in electric bikes and other alternative urban transportation modes as city dwellers looked for less-crowded ways to get around their streets quickly and easily without resorting to cars. Now, one of the companies that benefitted from that trend is announcing a big round of funding to expand its business. Cowboy, a Brussels-based startup that makes e-bikes and an accompanying app to manage various services related to them, has raised $80 million in a Series C round of funding. Exor N.V., HCVC and Siam Capital co-led the investment, with Tiger Global Management, Index Ventures, EOTHEN, Isomer Capital Opportunities Fund, Future Positive Capital and TRIPLE POINT CAPITAL LLP also participating. Cowboy — which has raised $120 million to date — is not disclosing its valuation, nor any sales numbers, but it says that it’s on track to reach 100,000 riders by 2023. (Link to article)