BMW i-Ventures Announces Investment in Urgent.ly, a Roadside Assistance Provider
BMW i-Ventures has invested in another automotive industry startup. The automaker's venture capital arm announced an investment this week in Urgent.ly, a Virginia-based company that developed a roadside assistance platform that connects drivers with emergency service providers.
Automakers Jaguar Land Rover and Porsche also participated in the funding round, totaling $21 million.
Urgent.ly was founded in 2011, the company combines location-based services with real-time data, AI and machine-to-machine communication to make easier for driver's to summon emergency roadside assistance, such as changing a flat tire or jump starting a battery.
The service is available across the entire United States, as well as Europe and Asia. The platform can be used by both drivers and service providers that respond to service requests the same way that an Uber driver accepts a trip request.
In addition to summoning help on-demand from a smartphone app, the Urgent.ly platform provides real time updates such as ETA of a service vehicle. The platform can even contact family or friends, letting them know that you are safe and awaiting service.
"The old model of roadside assistance must make way for a modern, more digital approach," said Kasper Sage, Partner, BMW i Ventures. "Urgent.ly will allow OEMs around the world to provide their customers the kind of real-time and connected digital experience they now expect in everything from food delivery to ride-sharing. Urgent.ly enables unparalleled transparency connecting dealerships, OEMs, providers and customers in real time, with actionable data-driven insights to optimize the experience along every step of the way."
Urgent.ly says its platform is connected to more than half of all U.S. roadside operators covering over 45,000 connected vehicles. Last April, the company announced a partnership with Uber to provide roadside assistance services for Uber drivers.
Geo-location of customers and their vehicles means the best-rated and closest service providers are algorithmically matched and dispatched to help the customer as quickly and efficiently as possible. All of these steps, including ETAs, provider tracking, communications and ratings are connected via Urgent.ly's platform. Urgent.ly says its algorithm driven platform reduces roadside service wait times by 50 percent.
BMW i Ventures is the automaker's EUR 500 million venture capital fund and invests money and resources in innovative automotive startups in the fields of autonomous driving, digital car and automotive cloud, e-mobility, AI, data and shared and on-demand mobility services.
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