Zendrive, a startup that uses smartphone sensors to measure drivers’ behavior, has raised $13.5 million in Series A funding led by Sherpa Capital, with participation from Nyca Partners, Thomvest Ventures, and earlier backers First Round Capital, BMW i Ventures, Fontinalis Partners. Tad Montross, who’s the chairman and CEO of General Re Corporation, also joined the round.
The 2.5-year-old, 35-person, San Francisco-based company targets enterprise customers like on-demand services and trucking companies that have large fleets of cars and trucks on the road, charging them licensing fees for its safety insights.
Some of Zendrive’s new features for making fleets safer at a large scale, include its Automatic Collision Detection feature. Developed with one of its investors, BMW, and tested at BMW’s crash-test facilities, the technology detects collisions in real time, allowing any car containing a smartphone to notify a call center or emergency contact, thereby reducing the time required to deliver a first response.
Zendrive’s new funding will be used to double its team by year end, and to hone its technology further still.
Because Zendrive is measuring data on mobile devices versus the vehicle itself, it will become increasingly relevant to on-demand services, where there may be more than one driver per vehicle.
The company further notes that on-board diagnostics ports have been demonstrated to create security weaknesses that can allow hackers to remotely take control of cars, while smartphones don’t pose the same kind of cybersecurity threat.