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RPM Ventures http://www.rpmvc.com Fueling Revolutionary Companies Wed, 11 Nov 2015 14:59:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Automotive Industry Renaissance Is Just Beginning http://www.rpmvc.com/the-automotive-industry-renaissance-is-just-beginning/ http://www.rpmvc.com/the-automotive-industry-renaissance-is-just-beginning/#comments Thu, 02 Apr 2015 18:07:42 +0000 http://www.rpmvc.com/?p=1362 Ford gets it, and many from Detroit, Nagoya, and Stuttgart will attempt to follow. Apple, gets it, and others from Silicon Valley will follow. There will be much arm waving by those who follow on both sides that say they get it, but few yet understand the enormity of the it that is this renaissance... Continue Reading »

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Fashion in B2C, Patience in B2B http://www.rpmvc.com/fashion-b2c-patience-b2b/ http://www.rpmvc.com/fashion-b2c-patience-b2b/#comments Mon, 15 Dec 2014 16:48:23 +0000 http://www.rpmvc.com/?p=1340 The other day I happened to be in London with my daughter, who had succeeded in dragging me off to the Victoria and Albert museum to look at their collection of couture through the ages. Beyond the amazing opulence of the clothes (and the masochism of their wearers), the thing that struck me most was... Continue Reading »

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The Macy’s Advantage: Secrets to Same-Day Delivery, Omnichannel http://www.rpmvc.com/macys-advantage-secrets-day-delivery-omnichannel/ http://www.rpmvc.com/macys-advantage-secrets-day-delivery-omnichannel/#comments Mon, 15 Dec 2014 14:25:33 +0000 http://www.rpmvc.com/?p=1347 Last month, Macy’s CFO Karen Hoguet explained how the company’s retail network gives it an advantage in the ever-more-crowded same-day delivery arena, as well as in omnichannel fulfillment. “I think our store footprint gives us a huge advantage, given where the Macy’s stores are located and the technology that we have built and have in... Continue Reading »

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Same-Day Service for Online Shoppers: More Home Delivery, In-Store Pickup http://www.rpmvc.com/day-service-online-shoppers-home-delivery-store-pickup/ http://www.rpmvc.com/day-service-online-shoppers-home-delivery-store-pickup/#comments Thu, 11 Dec 2014 18:35:26 +0000 http://www.rpmvc.com/?p=1345 This year, online holiday shoppers want it now. They are expecting more, after last holiday season when overpromising retailers, overburdened carriers and bad weather caused many packages to arrive late under the tree. Retailers are poised with two get-it-now solutions. Shoppers can buy online and pick up in stores, the more widely available same-day option.... Continue Reading »

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Same-Day Delivery May Be A Win For Macy’s http://www.rpmvc.com/day-delivery-may-win-macys/ http://www.rpmvc.com/day-delivery-may-win-macys/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 19:39:41 +0000 http://www.rpmvc.com/?p=1332 Do you need same-day delivery for a sweater or a pair of stilettos? Macy’s believes so. In late October, Macy’s began trialing same-day delivery to online customers in eight major U.S. markets: Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New Jersey, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle and Washington, D.C. Bloomingdale’s, its sister chain, will offer the service in... Continue Reading »

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Cox Automotive to buy Xtime for $325M, enters service software business http://www.rpmvc.com/cox-automotive-buy-xtime-325m-enters-service-software-business/ http://www.rpmvc.com/cox-automotive-buy-xtime-325m-enters-service-software-business/#comments Tue, 11 Nov 2014 22:13:25 +0000 http://www.rpmvc.com/?p=1278 Cox Automotive has agreed to pay $325 million in cash to buy Xtime, a leading provider of service scheduling and workflow software to dealerships, the companies announced today. The deal is expected to be completed in the next few days, said Keith Jezek, software division president at Cox Automotive. With the acquisition, Cox Automotive will... Continue Reading »

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A Framework for Tech Startups to Understand Opportunities in the Retail Automotive Industry http://www.rpmvc.com/framework-tech-startups-understand-opportunities-retail-automotive-industry/ http://www.rpmvc.com/framework-tech-startups-understand-opportunities-retail-automotive-industry/#comments Fri, 03 Oct 2014 23:15:52 +0000 http://www.rpmvc.com/?p=1104 For years we’ve shared our perspective with entrepreneurs and industry insiders on what it takes to build a successful software startup in the retail automotive industry. Now, we’ve distilled this thinking into a roadmap that we can share. We’ve even created a fancy video for those of you that don’t like pictures and long blog posts.... Continue Reading »

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Apple Quietly Builds New Networks http://www.rpmvc.com/apple-quietly-builds-new-networks/ http://www.rpmvc.com/apple-quietly-builds-new-networks/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 19:14:16 +0000 http://www.rpmvc.com/?p=1099 Company Boosts Internet Infrastructure, Lays Groundwork for More Traffic Amid Broader Ambitions Apple Inc. is stitching together a network of Internet infrastructure capable of delivering large amounts of content to customers, giving the company more control over the distribution of its online offerings while laying the groundwork for more traffic if it decides to move... Continue Reading »

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Connected Car: The Convergence of Mobile, Auto, and the Internet of Things http://www.rpmvc.com/connected-car-convergence-mobile-auto-internet-things/ http://www.rpmvc.com/connected-car-convergence-mobile-auto-internet-things/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 22:01:07 +0000 http://www.rpmvc.com/?p=1083 car-map

Press releases and conferences come and go in the tech world and many pass by without notice. For years if it was linked to the auto industry, Silicon Valley really didn’t notice. However, in the last few months, the rules have changed, and it’s because of one idea: The Connected Car. The reason is simple, it has the potential to be the biggest Internet of Things category of them all.

A bit of self-promotion here, but there was a press release this week by one of our portfolio companies, Automatic, about how they are helping new and older Ford vehicles become connected cars that can take advantage of Internet of Things devices and the most recent advances on the iPhone. Like many of the recent announcements around Connected Car, the Valley did notice.

More interesting then press releases, there have been three conferences in the Midwest since June, that brought more than just the standard industry names like Ford, GM, Toyota, Allstate, State Farm, etc… For those paying attention the conference halls filled with startups, venture capitalists, and visitors from across Silicon Valley. At the Telematics Detroit Conference, Intelligent Transportation Systems World Congress, and Insurance Telematics Conference, the phrase Connected Car was repeated 100 times a minute.

For years, Telematics has been a niche sector dominated by mega Midwest manufactures, foreign import players, and major telcos.  Suddenly, the Internet of Things, big data, and the changing demands of a connected consumer are all colliding together within the Automotive Industry. RPM Ventures has put together our own industry map to share how we see these forces converging together.

As a VC who splits his time on both sides of the continental divide (Michigan and Silicon Valley), it has been natural for my firm, RPM Ventures, to look at and invest in startups related to the Automotive Industry. The Telematics Detroit Conference and RPM Ventures were both started fourteen years ago. At that time, we thought Telematics should be left to the major automotive players and not startups.  Over time the growth in technologies has allowed these industries to drift towards one another forcing our perspectives to change particularly as mobile and auto have converged to create opportunities for startups. We made our first investment in the sector in 2005, and for the last four years have been aggressively pursuing connected car as we believe it is the foundation that will completely reshape the entire automotive world.

From our standpoint, success requires not only an understanding of how to build a hyper growth valley style startup, but also deep insight into the auto industry and the myriad manufacturing and service businesses that touch it. We’ve made thesis driven investments in companies like Automatic and Xtime, which has won Telematics awards for making the connection between the auto manufacturer and driver more meaningful throughout the ownership lifecycle. We also have investments in companies like Navdy, and Getaround. Others are beginning to take notice of these industry shifts and are pushing their own efforts to transform the sector.  Nokia and Intel have both launched $100M venture funds focused just on the connected car.  Apple and Google have launched versions of their OS targeted directly at the vehicle, and the industry is flowing with hot startups creating new land to build upon.

Why now though?  Today, the industry may spend $40B on marketing cars globally, but as millennials now see mobile devices as their source of freedom instead of cars, connected features differentiate cars more than rumbling horsepower or the long-term stability of a warranty.  As design cycles for cars take years, few big auto companies are yet able to market connected car features.  To fill the gap, startups are rising up to meet consumer demand. Further, the Insurance industry realizes leveraging data directly from the vehicle can help them bring better pricing and risk adjustment to drivers versus using externally generated and extrapolated event data like a speeding ticket. Municipalities recognize they can improve safety and decrease traffic jams on their roads by combining real-time data from the vehicle with growing amounts of external road information.

As VCs, we’re constantly looking into the future, so people ask us, “Will autonomous cars be everywhere?”  What is that if not a connected car?  It’s a car, with artificial intelligence, aware of its surroundings through connections to data hubs (Internet) and other cars (vehicle-to-vehicle or peer-to-peer), all controllable from a touch screen.  Sound familiar?

RPM Ventures has put in considerable effort over the last several years to make sure we know the majority of startups across the space, and spend time with all the major auto manufactures and wireless carriers in order to learn from them.  Our Connected Car map will be the first in a series of perspectives RPM Ventures has developed on the convergence of the automotive and startup industries. We see the sector as providing incredible opportunity for both the traditional automotive companies and their newer startup brethren. More importantly, as these players push each other and find innovative ways to work together, drivers will be the real winners.

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Attention Startups: The Automotive Industry Isn’t a Rust Belt Monolith http://www.rpmvc.com/attention-startups-automotive-industry-isnt-rust-belt-monolith/ http://www.rpmvc.com/attention-startups-automotive-industry-isnt-rust-belt-monolith/#comments Sun, 07 Sep 2014 21:56:15 +0000 http://www.rpmvc.com/?p=1074 What do you think about when you hear the phrase “online advertising”  or “big data”?  How about “social network”?  Do visions of hoodie-wearing young entrepreneurs dance through your head? Each of these are massive parts of the startup tech sector.  In 2012, online display advertising was $12 billion; big data has become the new hot... Continue Reading »

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