Zubie investment brings telematics into innoVentures’ portfolio

Posted on 12th December 2013

Castrol innoVentures, along with communications innovation leader Comporium, Inc., and OpenAir Equity Partners have invested in Zubie, a mobile and Internet services company focused on maximizing connected car capabilities for consumers and businesses, in $10 million funding. Jonathan Tudor joins the board of Zubie and Angel Gambino becomes an observer of the board.

Castrol innoVentures seeks to serve the consumer and customersin, around and beyond lubricants.  The team ask the questions: what does the consumer and customer of 2020 look like? What are their general wants and needs? What do they need from mobility specifically?

“We focus our investment in creating frictionless consumer experiences for drivers.  Telematics underpins our Total Care strategy to become the go to place for all your car care needs.  We had been scanning, scouting and meeting with most telematics companies around the world to find an intelligent solution that enables any car after 1997 to become a ‘connected car’.  We believe the automotive aftermarket will be transformed by digital technologies such as telematics. We were impressed with the experienced Zubie team from the first meeting and it’s strong go-to-market approach that will position the company well for the future,” said Angel.

Launched nationally in September, the Zubie Service makes driving and owning a car safer, easier and less expensive.  It uses a smart device — the Zubie Key — to plug directly into a car’s On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) port and capture valuable vehicle and driving data for car owners and drivers — car diagnostics, family safety location-based alerts, driving behaviour reports and more. The Zubie Service is currently sold through Amazon.com, BestBuy.com, the Zubie.co Storefront and Telesales, and is iPhone and Android-compatible.

Angel continues: “Our investment in Zubie reflects our ongoing interest in technologies that have significant potential to offer a predictive, timely, contextual, convenient and simple capability to the mobile consumer of the future.  Zubie converts a car into a mobile information and communication platform upon which Castrol can build services.  Working with Zubie will benefit our coreCastrol business with large amounts of data,new insights and a real time direct connection with consumers, new revenue streams and also fits with in our investment strategy.”

How will telematics data benefit the core business?

For Castrol, telematics data helps us answer the key question – What does the future consumer want?  From a core business standpoint, that means what will they want and need to stay on the move. From a ‘connected car’ standpoint, we see a lot of potential to deliver highly relevant information, offers and services that enhance the driving experience.

For instance, predictive technology that monitors its environment – by using car data (big data), in-car telematics and multiple sensors to diagnose the health of the car – before it breaks down. Predicting maintenance before catastrophic failure is an important step to improve safety.

“People want to know when to service their car and what products and services their car needs. They want to know where the nearest Castrol workshop is and that they will receive quality, timely service and fair prices,” said Angel. “They need to be able to book an appointment – directly synching their calendar with the workshop for instance and get reminders and an authentic service log stored in the cloud that helps when they later want to sell their cars. The workshops want to know as much as possible about the vehicle before it arrives. Telematics data can help provide these things and pave the road to frictionless social commerce, greater trust and transparency.”