Nokia has invested $8 million in Zubie, a connected car start-up with a service that claims to connect “cars and drivers like never before.”
The investment is the first to come out a $100 million Connected Car fund that Nokia announced in May and entrusted to Nokia Growth Partners (NGP), its investment arm. NGP has said it will identify and invest in innovations that are “important” to the world of intelligent vehicles.
Funding isn’t all Zubie gained from NGP. Paul Asel, an NGP partner, has joined Zubie’s board of directors.
Asel, in an Aug. 11 statement, said NGP was delighted to inaugurate the fund with its backing of Zubie, which, he added, “offers the potential to help transform our driving experience as it integrates more deeply with carmakers over time.”
Zubie’s $100-a-year service features a Zubie Key that plugs in under the dashboard and connects the car to the Zubie Cloud (it works with most vehicles made after 1996). Even while parked, the Key’s sensors communicate information about the health of the car, the driver’s driving and other “interesting insights” to the cloud. Via a third component, the Zubie App, users can receive tips and information, whether they’re in the car or not.
Friends can use the Zubie app to compare driving skills—their top speed, how hard they braked, whether they accelerated too rapidly—to others’. (“A little competition never hurts,” says the Zubie site.)
Zubie also purports to save drivers money by alerting them to issues before they turn into costly repairs, and by pointing out more fuel-efficient routes.
Parents can use it to keep track of teens and view their driving habits, and businesses can use it to track the vehicles in a fleet and improve driver safety.
Intended for fleets with up to 20 vehicles, the application shows each vehicle’s route and diagnostic information, and geo-fencing alerts can be set up, to sound when a vehicle is somewhere it shouldn’t be.
Magna, a global automotive supplier, also invested in Zubie, saying it’s interested in “novel solutions” in the automotive market.
Included in the insights and analysis offered by the service (its four prints are real-time GPS tracking, vehicle health, driver performance and analysis) are benchmarks showing how a business’ driving stats compare to other fleets.
“The era of the connected vehicle is expected to change the automotive landscape and create new value-creation opportunities for auto suppliers, inventors, startup companies and owners of intellectual property,” said Swamy Kotagiri, Magna CTO, in a statement.
By 2024, research firm Analysis Mason expects that 48 percent of passenger vehicles in the world will have embedded connectivity and that revenue from connected passenger cards will increase from $1.4 billion in 2013 to 31 billion in 2024.