Auto Tech Startups: Put Your Money Where Your Lidar Is
In November, CB Insights hosted a webinar entitled The Rise of Auto Tech: What’s Coming, Who’s Doing it, And Who Will Be Affected.” The webinar covered a number of topics related to auto tech, including funding trends and activity. The data reported by CB Insights, which covers the period from 2009 until October 27, 2015, confirms two things about the auto tech industry: (1) the number and dollar volume of auto tech deals has been gradually increasing over the past six years; and (2) most of the deal activity is related to early stage funding (e.g., angel, seed, and Series A round funding). In fact, as demonstrated by the pie chart below, 44% of deal activity is in early stage funding.
One of the interesting takeaways from the webinar is that investment in auto tech startups is no longer limited to venture capitalists. Big automotive manufacturers such as GM, Ford, Audi, and BMW are making significant investments in auto tech startups.
According to the webinar, many manufacturers including non-traditional auto manufacturers such as Google and Apple plan to begin production of autonomous vehicles by 2020.
The rise of the autonomous vehicle creates big opportunities for many small or startup companies that specialize in technologies such as lidar (light detection and ranging)—used in many autonomous vehicles for obstacle detection and avoidance—or other technologies used in autonomous vehicles.