Otonomo raises $25M to pair data with developers that need it
Think of it like a marketplace for the future of connected-car development.
Andrew KrokReviews Editor / Cars
Cars are Andrew's jam, as is strawberry. After spending years as a regular ol' car fanatic, he started working his way through the echelons of the automotive industry, starting out as social-media director of a small European-focused garage outside of Chicago. From there, he moved to the editorial side, penning several written features in Total 911 Magazine before becoming a full-time auto writer, first for a local Chicago outlet and then for CNET Cars.
When your company is deep in development, data is like money -- are you really going to turn it down? Of course you're not, and if you need even more, Otonomo is in the business of delivering that data.
Otonomo just raised $25 million in a round of Series B funding, TechCrunch reports. The lead investor for this round was Delphi, an automobile supplier that is developing its own autonomous vehicle systems, which it hopes automakers will then purchase. It now has about $40 million in total funding, including other auto-industry investors like Daimler.
The whole idea behind Otonomo is easy. Companies are creating a wealth of data during development, and that data could reliably be shared between companies looking to improve on their own research. Thus, Otonomo becomes a middleman in this equation, facilitating the data swaps.
"There are more and more connected cars out there, and those connected cars are sending a lot of data in the background all the time to big databases the car manufacturers have built," said Ben Volkow, Otonomo's CEO, to TechCrunch. "So we started talking to the car companies and they're telling us 'Connectivity, it's a thing -- show us the money.' That's what we do: We want to move from the age of data mobilization, to the age of data monetization."
No physical connections are required -- it's all done via virtual marketplace, with Otonomo's cloud platform passing things along between linked parties. It'll ideally include not just automakers and suppliers, but also insurance companies, smart cities and independent developers.
If you're wondering how rewarding this sort of business is, the answer is very. Volkow told TC that data is selling at around a 100 percent margin, and with some companies offering deep development pockets, it's no surprise why investors are taking interest.
The biggest roadblock, it appears, is security. Navigating the morass of national, local and even individual company requirements of security and privacy is tricky, but with the weight of suppliers and influential investors behind its efforts, Otonomo looks set to speed up connected-car development while raking in the dough (hopefully).