2016 was a year of significant expansion for Zendrive: We enhanced our board of directors and, fueled by Series A funding, we grew our team and our technology. We also saw the velocity of our data grow exponentially.
Padma Warrior joins our board; Series A funding
We are thrilled that Padmasree Warrior, U.S. CEO of Chinese electric car startup NIO, joined our board in July. Padmasree’s extensive experience in mobile and enterprise (as former CTO of Cisco and Motorola, and board member of Microsoft) are invaluable to Zendrive as we work to shift transportation paradigms through our risk modeling and safety technology.
In addition, in early 2016, we announced our $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, and Fontinalis Partners. This 7-figure investment enabled us to hire a recruiter tasked with doubling the size of our team. With our robust team on board– and by the way 50% of our new hires were women — we intensified our focus on honing our technology and refining our automatic collision detection capability. In case you didn’t know, our innovative technology–developed with data from numerous crash tests at BMW labs and supplemented with thousands of collisions analyzed monthly–enables apps to notify emergency services, roadside assistance, or loved ones in the event of a collision.
Exponential growth in miles accumulated and analyzed
We saw adoption of our technology grow in 2016 with more than 1000 sign-ups for our SDK and numerous deployments. We believe it’s because Zendrive is the only driver-analytics platform that is all about developers and partners. Our developer platform remains a critical piece of our growth strategy and we’ve invested significant resources to bring its performance and developer-friendliness to an unmatched level of maturity and stability.
By October, we had collected and analyzed 1 billion miles of driving data (that’s 4,186 trips to the moon and enough to circle the Earth 40,000 times!). It took us 1.5 years to hit that milestone, but only 7 weeks to hit our second billion, and 4 weeks after that to hit our third billion. This exponential growth cements our unrivaled visibility into driver behavior and modern transportation patterns. This scale also makes it possible for us to offer unparalleled data insights and services for cities, autonomous vehicle manufacturers and insurers globally. Together with our partners, Zendrive remains committed to using big data and mobile technology to drive safety forward.
Key partnerships with Otto and Life360
2016 brought Zendrive increased partnership and collaboration with fleets, apps and several cities. We also saw a massive-fold increase–3900%–in the number of Zendrive drivers.
Two customers we’d like to highlight are Otto and Life360.
As a self-driving start-up focused on autonomous trucks technology, Otto’s challenge was finding insurance for a nascent commercial class with unknown risk. Zendrive was able to help Otto better understand and measure risk and deliver significant savings. In fact, co-founder of Otto Lior Ron noted that “Zendrive was able to help us cut our insurance cost by more than 50%.” Otto was recently acquired by Uber, and the founding team is leading Uber’s Self-Driving Vehicle efforts.
Thanks to the scale, technical superiority and mobile-developer first foundation of our platform, family app Life360 chose to partner exclusively with Zendrive to offer driver-safety features such as Crash Detection and Safe Driving Reviews. Our deep partnership and collaboration with Life360 resulted in a best-in-industry battery consumption, which is critical for consumers. With Life360 Driver Protect, Zendrive’s technology is democratizing access to driver safety features via an app with over 50 million registered users, and is helping provide peace of mind to families on the road.
First company to be a part of University of Michigan’s Mcity program for testing AV technologies
The TechLab program at MCity is the world’s first controlled environment designed to support rigorous, repeatable testing of connected, automated and autonomous vehicle technologies before they are tried on public streets and highways. Zendrive was proud to offer UM students a one of a kind opportunity to work with data and advanced connected vehicles in a year-long program. Our collaboration with UM not only progresses our research and development, but is benchmarking safety for self-driving cars.
New Zendrivers and new office spaces in two countries!
Our Bangalore and San Francisco teams continue to grow across all functional areas. To accommodate our growing team in India, we expanded into a new office space in July in Bangalore, almost three years after establishing our first office there in November 2013. We were 18 people strong at the old office and bursting at the seams; our new office space allows us to grow to 45 people over the next 18 months!
We also expanded into an adjacent space in our SOMA location in San Francisco this November, allowing us to double our SF team. You’ll see a steady stream of Zendrivers climbing up and down stairs and between offices all day long (alas, no tunnel connects the two locations even though they are adjacent)!
It all comes home to our mission: safer roads for drivers and passengers
We believe that all traffic deaths and serious injuries are preventable–the underlying ethical principle for the international movement known as Vision Zero. In 2016, we demonstrated our commitment to Vision Zero publicly by partnering with Vision Zero cities like New York and San Francisco and supporting leaders such as Transportation Alternatives, WalkSF, National Association of City Transportation Officials and the International Association of Transportation Regulators.
One of the great benefits of analyzing billions of miles is that important and useful insights can be discovered. In 2016, we did several studies that uncovered such insights; our favorite study analyzed the impact of San Francisco’s Safer Market Street project. We were excited to share our expertise in events like Paris’ VivaTech: Digitopolis panel where we discussed the future of smart cities.
As we look ahead to what 2017 brings, we’d like to thank our customers and partners for taking part in our expansion and growth in 2016! Cheers to the new year.