Vinli raises $6.5M in Series A for connected car technology
Monday was a big day for connected car startup Vinli, as the Dallas-based company announced a $6.5 million Series A funding round led by Samsung Venture Investment Corp. Other major investors included Cox Automotive, The Westly Group, and Continental.
Vinli CEO Mark Haidar said in a statement:
We believe Vinli will change how people interact with their cars on a day-to-day basis by making cars smarter, safer and more enjoyable. We are honored to be partnering with one of the world’s largest consumer electronics companies, Samsung; one of the largest auto suppliers, Continental; one of the largest car ownership companies, Cox Automotive; and one of Tesla’s early investors, The Westly Group. This diverse group of auto and technology industry leaders believe in our vision and will help us accelerate and shape the future of the connected car.
Vinli’s $99.99 device will give users a relatively inexpensive way to connect to their car’s computer via their smartphones. The device plugs into the vehicle’s OBD II port, a standard feature located under the dashboard in most cars, and it connects to users’ smartphones via Bluetooth. The company has also partnered with T-Mobile, who will provide wireless connectivity for the device. Vinli says that installation is “as easy as plugging a USB drive into your computer.”
Aside from the OBD device itself, Vinli will also be launching with its own app store, which includes applications that can diagnose mechanical problems, search for nearby parking lots, track a stolen vehicle, and more. There is even an app that gamifies safe driving habits.
Vinli provides developers with full access to its SDK and API, and the app store has over 150 applications currently in development.
Luis Arbulu, Director of Strategic Investments at Samsung Global Innovation Center, said:
Vinli is focused on bringing the most personalized, best driving experience possible to modern drivers, one that enables smooth connectivity to their favorite apps. We are excited about Vinli’s innovative technology and look forward to welcoming the team to the Samsung family.
The first units are expected to ship in August 2015, and they are available for pre-order now via the company’s Indiegogo campaign. Watch a video of the device in action below.
Image credit: Vinli
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