Japan’s car telematics startup, SmartDrive gets US$9 million in Series B to ramp up big data analysis

Sat Apr 15, 2017 - 7:25am UTC

SmartDrive, a Tokyo-based startup offering DriveOps vehicle management platform announced last week that it has secured up to 1 billion yen (about US$9 million) in its Series B round.

Details about the funding round were not disclosed but it is said that investors’ names will be revealed in accordance with the announcement of business partnerships.

Launched in October 2013, DriveOps enables safe driving support through an automobile condition management which connects specialized devices to the cloud.

It includes visualization of driving data or safe driving support for individuals, as well as expenditure management support for businesses. The logistics industry, for example, can improve fuel consumption or work efficiency using it.

In another development, the startup also revealed that it has been developing a drive recorder app for smartphones.

The app can detect crucial moments related to dangerous driving or traffic accident based on an enormous amount of video data both inside and outside of commercial vehicles – shot using mounted cameras for big data analysis. Besides, it is also able to acquire video images for several seconds before and after the incident, to support easy search.

The firm scheduled the launch of this app around summer and will enable more accurate real-time video analysis search service regarding driving.

SmartDrive has been acquiring vehicle behaviour data by connecting communication devices onto OBD port for maintenance since 2014. Using this method, accurate data can be obtained.

“Automobile data is required by insurance companies, automobile dealers, car lease companies, after-sales services or the semiconductor industry. The SmartDrive’s platform concept is to customize and provide big data on automobiles for such markets. For example, one of our partner Axa Direct Life Insurance provides a telematics insurance as its own product including the app,” said the CEO of SmartDrive Retsu Kitagawa.

On the future prospects of SmartDrive, Kitagawa also notes that company will begin selling highly public data such as traffic congestion forecast to local governments in FY2017.

The latest capital will be used for talent acquisition to expand the 30 members team, to take in more engineers which specialize in analysis or big data processing while paying close attention to the video image analysis service which is scheduled for launch.

By Vivian Foo, VCNewsNetwork

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