San Diego-based SmartDrive Systems Raises $12M in Venture Funding

SmartDrive Systems, a San Diego company that uses video recording technology and web-based services to reduce the costs of operating motor vehicle fleets, has raised $12 million in venture capital in a deal that could be worth as much as $25 million, according to a regulatory filing.

The company was founded in 2004 by James Plante, an automotive electronics executive and entrepreneur, who served as SmartDrive’s founding CEO until April 2008, when Greg Drew was named CEO. Drew tells me that Plante continues to serve on SmartDrive’s five-member board of directors, and remains a key investor in the company, which has more than 350 employees worldwide.

Investors in the current round include Oak Investment Partners of Palo Alto, CA, and New Enterprise Associates of Menlo Park, CA, according to Drew. The CEO tells me that SmartDrive, which has now raised more than $22 million in total venture funding since the beginning, intends to use the current round to accelerate the acquisition of new customers.

SmartDrive logoDrew says that SmartDrive’s strategy remains focused on helping fleet operators mitigate their risk by combining video, audio, GPS, and accelerometer technologies into a SmartRecorder device that is mounted above the windshield of fleet vehicles. “Our focus really is on enterprise accounts that are looking to transform their safety program,” Drew says.

SmartDrive’s customers include ambulance companies, taxi companies, school districts, utilities, waste management companies, and other fleet operators. SmartDrive says its event recorder and related web-based services can help reduce vehicle damage, workers’ compensation costs, and personal injury costs by as much as 50 percent.

SmartDrive’s competitors include San Diego-based DriveCam, which raised $19 million in venture funding in August.

Bruce V. Bigelow was the editor of Xconomy San Diego from 2008 to 2018. Read more about his life and work here. Follow @bvbigelow

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