With a $120 million debut fund and a mission to invest in early-stage land transportation startups, Autotech Ventures came upon the scene three years ago. Now, with investments in 26 startups and several exits, including Xnor.ai, Deep Scale, and Frontier Car Group, the venture group is back with a new, broader fund and the same approach.
With funding investments from both financial and corporate investors, including Volvo Group Venture Capital AB, Lear, Bridgestone, and Stoneridge, as well as other automotive manufacturers, parts suppliers, repair shop chains, leasing firms, dealership groups, and trucking companies, Autotech Ventures has raised more than $150 million in its second investment.
The new fund has brought the firm under management to more than $270 million to date.
While the funds provided by Autotech include institutional financial investors, it has focused largely on corporations.
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“The corporate LP base is an important part of our strategy as a company and a key differentiator for us,” said Daniel Hoffer, Autotech’s managing director, in a recent interview with TechCrunch. “We offer high-level capital, transport business insights, and access to the industry’s major corporations like our LPs.
Startups appreciate those partnerships because we can boost their go-to-market and their channels of distribution in addition to offering greater exposure to other avenues of business growth and even M&A opportunities. “The business typically aims for the commencement and Series ‘A sweet spot’. But, Hoffer said, it will periodically take part in Series B and later-stage funding rounds. The new $150 million-plus fund will target early-stage startups in many sectors that fall under the umbrella of “land transportation and sustainability,” including applications for connectivity, autonomy, shared-use sustainability, electrification, and digital enterprise.
Autotech Ventures invests internationally but most of its investments are in the United States. Except for North America, according to Hoffer, the company has a proportionate presence in Europe and Israel.
Many of its major investments include DeepScale (which Tesla picked up last year), Uber, used car marketplace provider Frontier Car Group, Outdoorsy, Swvl, SpotHero parking app, Volta Charging, and Xnor.ai, which Apple acquired in January.
Hoffer said the company is aware of well-known developments, such as autonomous vehicle technology, that everyone is pursuing, but it is still interested in the more niche opportunities that people may be less aware of.
Autotech is interested in overlooked opportunities, such as software that enables the industry to conduct recalls, and The company is also seeing investment opportunities in autonomous vehicle technology projects “off-highway,” for example in mining and construction.