Automotive Ventures VC Fund I: Investing in Early-Stage Auto Tech Companies
Updated: Jun 24, 2021
We’ve officially launched our first venture fund, which was oversubscribed with more than $7m in committed capital that we're eager to deploy into early stage automotive tech companies.
We’ve witnessed a shortage of institutional capital for early stage auto tech companies for decades and believe that we are now uniquely positioned to provide these funds, as well as deep automotive expertise and connections, to early stage entrepreneurs when they need it most.
We’ve been actively investing since our first close in December 2020. We are honored to count the following eight companies as Automotive Ventures portfolio companies: Algodriven, Car Capital, Dollaride, HopDrive, Lender Compliance Technologies, RoboTire, SparkCharge, and WarrCloud.
It’s an exciting time to be in automotive. We believe the industry is at an inflection point and on the cusp of massive change. We are excited and humbled to play a small part to help usher in the next wave of technological innovation in the industry by funding the founders who are building transformational companies in this space.
Our Investment Focus
Our key focus areas across automotive - and mobility more broadly - include the digitalization of dealerships, electrification, car connectivity, autonomy, and shared mobility. We will additionally fund startups with a wide array of different business models, from B2B SaaS and data companies, to marketplaces and even hardware businesses.
We’re proudly located in Atlanta, Georgia and love meeting founders in our backyard. That said, in terms of our investment strategy, we plan to be geographically agnostic, though anticipate that most of our investments will be made in U.S.-based companies.
Our team has a comprehensive set of filters through which we evaluate opportunities, but there are three factors that we weigh most heavily:
Team: we strongly favor experienced, full-time team members with a compelling connection to the problem being solved and those who display the highest level of integrity.
Total Addressable Market (TAM): we only fund founders who are working to solve a problem in a multi-billion dollar market.
Unique Approach: there must be unique IP, insights, sales channels or other defensible “moats” that will create barriers to entry for both incumbents and new entrants.
We aim to invest in the very early stages of a company’s journey, most typically in the seed or pre-seed round -- but occasionally, our first investment may be in the Series A. We anticipate that we’ll often be the first “institutional” investor that puts in money and find ourselves investing alongside angel investors and even “friends and family”.
Our initial check size will be $100-$200k, but our Limited Partners often have an interest in co-investing alongside us (more on this below). We’ve reserved 50% of our capital for follow-on investments, in which we’ll cut slightly larger checks into our portfolio companies (and often enable participation from our Limited Partners to co-invest).
Our Unique Value-Add
Most critical to entrepreneurs, we’re uniquely positioned to help energize their companies’ growth by providing:
Industry Connections and Reach: our team has deep connections with the most important potential investors, customers, partners and acquirers in the automotive space. Additionally, the Automotive Ventures Intel Report, Linkedin following, and other company media efforts are reaching an increasing percentage of the industry, providing valuable exposure for our portfolio companies.
Deep Auto Industry Expertise: our sole focus is automotive and has been for decades, giving us a unique understanding of industry dynamics. We’re in a privileged position to share that insight with our portfolio companies to help them see around corners and make the best strategic decisions for their companies.
Access to Our Pool of Investors: our Limited Partners are forward-thinking investors in the automotive space and fall into two primary buckets: (1) dealer operators and (2) successful automotive technology entrepreneurs. They are uniquely capable of providing early customer feedback to accelerate product/market fit. Through their networks, they can help entrepreneurs get access to a critical mass of customers. Many of our investors also regularly invest alongside us when given the opportunity.
A big thanks to our limited partners, advisors, and fellow investors for supporting us on this journey. And most importantly, we wish to share a huge kudos and thank you to our portfolio companies who are each working to redefine their respective slices of the auto industry and inspire us each and every day.
If you’re an early stage entrepreneur working in automotive, please reach out to us. We’d love to hear more about what you’re building and how we can support you.