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Creative investment opportunities recognized at auto industry’s first innovation and investor conference; SRO conference, packed with investors, dealerships & PE firms, reviewed over 20 start-ups representing the best of the auto industry’s future
Salt Lake City, UT –November 3, 2015 – Twenty-two of the top young companies shaping the future of the automotive industry came together last month to compete for investment dollars at the AutoVentures conference in Las Vegas. Friendemic’s innovative dealership social media strategies; Nuve’s anti-fuel and cargo theft device, and PartPic’s visual-recognition parts-finding app took conference top honors for most innovative and likely to succeed ideas as voted on by the standing room-only audience of automotive private equity firms, automotive vendor business development teams and progressive dealers and groups. AutoVentures was co-produced by DrivingSales and Fraser McCombs Capital.
Additional companies earning recognition were DealerHQ, DealerSync, Mechanic Advisor, NuPark, and Showroom Logic.
“Rapidly changing consumer behavior, accelerating technology change and an explosion of investor interest in Automotive have created huge opportunities for positive disruption in our industry…and nowhere was this more evident than in the compelling businesses who took the floor at the first ever AutoVentures conference,” said DrivingSales Founder and CEO Jared Hamilton. “We firmly believe that innovation is best advanced by collaboration between entrepreneurs and the existing automotive community, which is what the AutoVentures conference is all about.”
Tony Rimas, managing partner of Fraser McCombs Capital, sees automotive investing at a turning point. “Historically, the automotive sector has both been under-funded and has lacked mentors for young companies to help them navigate the structural and regulatory peculiarities of the industry,” said Rimas. “AutoVentures was designed to fill this void.”
Co-presented by DrivingSales with Fraser McCombs Capital, AutoVentures offers a focus on automotive, with guidance and expertise from industry leaders and successful entrepreneurs; access to capital, as well as influential early adopter customers, and unique investment opportunities through a companion angel fund managed by crowd funder MicroVentures.
Businesses presented included models that uniquely leverage the sharing economy in automotive - from car rental to roadside assistance to taxis; mobile-based on-demand innovations - from car parking to auto parts purchasing; and dealership-focused models from streamlining the trade-in process, non-OEM vehicle certification, and monitoring driving behavior for spot-on risk management, to new social media strategies and inventive ways for auto dealerships to improve supply chain management, the customer experience and dealer management processes.
“We could not be more excited about helping connect these exciting businesses with the dollars that will nurture them into the future,” continued Hamilton. “It was challenging to pick the top idea as every single presenter offered something fresh and compelling. Congratulations to each of our AutoVentures innovators and especially to the winners and runners up.”
Twenty-two companies were selected to present from 160 candidates. The presenting companies were divided into three groups – Early, Mid and Late Stage - and had five minutes to share their business case, followed by questions from a panel of auto/investment industry experts. The audience of investors and auto industry leaders voted for the companies they believed offered the most innovative ideas with the greatest potential for success.
The AutoVentures Start-Up Competition Winners and Runner’s Up are as follows:
PartPic: Simplifies the search and purchase of replacement parts using visual recognition technology
RedCap: Delivers a seamless and branded experience to customers who prefer to work with you off-site, from test drives to service
DealerHQ: Provides dealers with a single customizable portal for the dozens of web applications used on a daily basis and provides real-time oversight of vendors
Nuve: Utilizes sensors and anti-siphoning devices to prevent fuel and cargo theft across fleets
DealerSync: One-stop solution for dynamic websites designed around the process and daily needs of independent dealers
NuPark: Leverages license plate recognition (LPR) technology to revolutionize the everyday management of parking operations
Friendemic: Social engagement & brand building, reputation management, and social analytics for the dealer audience
Mechanic Advisor: Full service marketing platform built for repair shops
Showroom Logic: Market share optimization tool that allows dealers drive efficiency
As part of the AutoVentures program, MicroVentures is administering an angel fund portfolio investors can participate in, as well as enabling investors to build their own portfolio with investments in any of the companies participating in the program.
Charter sponsors included Autobytel, CDK Global, DealerSocket, and Reynolds & Reynolds. Program sponsors included Cars.com, Autotrader, Edmunds, Gubagoo and Truecar.
AutoVentures Presenting Companies:
Bandwagon, Carbuyer, CFS, DealerHQ, DealerSync, eSupply, FlexDrive, Friendemic, Ivox, Mechanic Advisor, NuPark, Nuve, PartPic, Redcap, Reviver, Showroom Logic , Silvercar, SureSale, , TheAppraisalLane, and The Zebra
For more information about AutoVentures go to http://autoventures.drivingsales.com
DrivingSales serves automotive retailers with an integrated suite of technology, knowledge, community and performance insight designed to advance the success of retail professionals and their dealerships. Founded by a third-generation car dealer in 2008, today DrivingSales is utilized by two-thirds of franchised dealerships in North America as a resource to improve their business performance.
To learn more about the DrivingSales community, news, dealer education or performance analytics visit DrivingSales.com,
About Fraser McCombs Capital
Fraser McCombs Capital (FMC) is a leading, automotive focused venture capital firm. Founded in 2012, by an automotive entrepreneur and a longtime automotive investor, FMC has roots in the automotive sector going back decades across all three tiers of the industry. FMC was created to bring capital and mentorship to the underserved automotive startup marketplace, where traditional venture capital firms refused to participate.
FMC looks to invest in new technologies and business models within the automotive vertical. By leveraging their deep knowledge base, they are able to find connections between key players in the sector on behalf of their portfolio of companies. To learn more about Fraser McCombs Capital and their portfolio, please visit fmcap.com.
DrivingSales Media Relations:
Melanie Webber (melanie(at)mwebbcom(dot)com), mWEBB Communications, 424.603.4340
Crystal Hartwell (crystal(at)mwebbcom(dot)com), mWEBB Communications, 714.987.1016