Connected Car Firm Vinli Raises $13.5M, Partners With Germany’s E.ON
Dallas—Vinli, a connected car analytics startup, announced today it has raised a Series B funding round of $13.5 million.
Investors in the round include German utility E.ON, The Westly Group in Menlo Park, CA; Hersh Family Investments, which is based in Irving, TX; and Hal Brierley, a longtime Dallas airline executive.
Among the uses for the new funding is to add electric vehicles to Era, the startup’s data intelligence platform. Vinli says Era can help customers suss out trends from connected car data. As electric vehicles are becoming more common, there is opportunity to leverage the data they are gathering, such as information on battery performance or usage, says Matt Himelfarb, Vinli’s COO.
That information, he says, is interesting to large companies like E.ON, which are looking for tools that can improve the way customers use resources—in this case, electricity. “They could guide them to the right charging stations,” Himelfarb says.
Era can broaden the electric mobility tools that E.ON can offer fleets of electric vehicles, the utility said in a press release. “With the information from the car itself, we are closing a gap in our data world for eMobility,” Frank Meyer, E.ON’s senior vice president for innovation and customer solutions, said in the statement. “By combining customer vehicle and network data, we can identify trends at an early stage and will continually create new digital mobility offerings for our customers.”
Himelfarb says that Vinli will also use the funds to make hires in its executive ranks, as well as engineering.
E.ON is the second enterprise customer that Vinli has signed up since it pivoted last fall to focus more on business customers rather than individual car owners. The startup, which launched in 2014, originally offered aftermarket connectivity devices to consumers. In October, Vinli and ALD Automotive, which is majority owned by French financial services company Societe Generale, announced a partnership to provide tools to “improve both driver experience and optimize overall total cost of ownership for efficient fleet management,” ALD said in a press release.