Smartcar is just getting started. We’re creating an entirely new market which didn’t previously exist.
Funding: $12 M Series A funded by a16z and NEA
Location: Mountain View, CA
Smartcar is the platform to build and scale mobility services. Businesses of all sizes use our APIs to track vehicle locations, verify mileage, manage digital car keys, and charge electric vehicles.
What problem is Smartcar solving?
While software has been disrupting every other industry for over a decade, innovation in the mobility space has been surprisingly slow. In the United States, 80% of cars sold feature built-in internet access but the software and APIs that would allow apps to communicate with those cars are still fragmented and proprietary to each car brand.
Smartcar is the first platform to democratize access to those APIs, powering a new community of innovators in the mobility space. Insurance companies use our platform to verify their customers’ mileage and charge them lower rates. Governments explore ways to tax drivers more fairly. Car sharing companies offer contactless rentals with digital keys. EV charging networks build more efficient charging solutions. And utility companies increase green energy usage and prevent power outages. By making it easy for businesses to build and scale a mobility service, Smartcar allows them to focus on what’s important: building the future of mobility.
Where do you see Smartcar in the near term and long term?
Smartcar is just getting started. We’re creating an entirely new market which didn’t previously exist. In the short term, we’re focused on letting the world know what our technology makes possible and helping businesses incorporate our APIs into their products and services. We have tons of exciting features on our roadmap — from adding more car brands to the platform to offering new API endpoints and additional SDKs.
When we look ahead to our long-term goals, we want to bring Smartcar to more countries beyond the United States and Canada. We’re excited to get our platform in the hands of developers in Europe, Asia, and other regions soon.
How big is the team and how do you keep your team motivated?
We currently have 19 members on the team and we’re growing! We have a lot of different initiatives in place to stay motivated and nurture our company culture. Here are a few examples:
1. Learning and development stipend: Our team members are using this annual stipend on anything from negotiation classes to coding bootcamps and books related to their field.
2. Quarterly offsites: We had to adapt by making our offsites virtual, but they are still incredibly fun. We held a virtual offsite in April where paralympics athlete Evan O’Hanlon walked us through effective goal setting techniques, followed by a team lunch and a drawing class hosted by the New York-based artist, Ben Ponte.
3. Weekly mini workouts: The team is an active bunch, so we offer virtual 15-minute workouts with exercises like squats, lunges, and push-ups every week.
4. Self-guided activities: We also maintain a calendar full of self-guided activities that team members can tune into daily after work or on the weekends. From learning how to make croissants or margaritas all the way to calligraphy classes and at home concerts, the calendar offers a range of topics designed to help us change up our routines.
5. “Random” Slack channel: We also have a Slack channel called “Random,” where we post entertaining things like funny memes, interesting articles, photos of cute things our dogs are doing, and home-cooked meals we’re really proud of.
What’s one piece of advice that you would give to other women that are thinking about joining a startup?
Research has shown that women doubt themselves more than men do and that they don’t apply to a job unless they meet all of the listed requirements. Our main advice is: be confident. If you see your dream job posting, apply for it, and take even one step further by emailing the recruiter and sharing why you would be a great fit. Here’s a great blog post on how to kickstart your job search.
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