SmartDrive Confirms Funding

SmartDrive Systems Inc., a San Diego-based provider of driver risk management systems and services, has raised $46 million in Series D funding. peHUB reported the news last week, based on a regulatory filing.

 

New Enterprise Associates led the deal, and was joined by return backers Oak Investment Partners, Revolution Ventures, the Founders Fund and Western Technology Investments.

 

PRESS RELEASE
SmartDrive Systems, Inc.(TM), the global leader in driver safety measuring and management technology, today announced that it has closed a $46 million Series D round of funding co-led by Oak Investment Partners and New Enterprise Associates (NEA). Existing investors Revolution Ventures, The Founders Fund, Edelson Technology Ventures, and Western Technology Partners also participated.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20071113/LATU176)

“Attracting the combined leadership of unrivalled venture capital funds like Oak and NEA is a rare privilege for any technology company,” said Jim Plante, the company's co-founder and CEO. “For SmartDrive, it is a testament to our position as an industry leader and an affirmation to our more than 300 team members worldwide who are committed to delivering the best measured safety program in the industry. With this $46 million of new funding, we'll be able to offer an even greater level of service and product advantage to our global customer base.”

Currently targeted at fleet vehicles, the SmartDrive service comprises an on-board video device, a professional services offering, and a web-accessible software management console. Accidents and unsafe driving incidents trigger a video capture of an event in the in-vehicle device, which transmits these events to the SmartDrive operations center for professional review and analysis. All video events and associated statistical data are dynamically organized and viewable on a private web portal accessible anywhere/anytime by fleet managers, risk managers, drivers, and company executives. Wide-ranging driver improvement occurs through a combination of in-context driver remediation (viewing and reducing unsafe incidents) and actual behavior changes by drivers attempting to minimize the triggering of events. The SmartDrive solution is also used to assess liability in collisions, frequently exonerating fleet vehicle operators.

Fleet managers utilizing the SmartDrive system are able to predict and prevent crashes, improve overall driver effectiveness, and realize annualized risk-related savings in the millions of dollars for a typical mid-sized fleet. Companies that use SmartDrive can cut accident frequency by 50% or more within three to six months.

“SmartDrive clearly leapfrogged the competition and is now in a position to further its lead as they continue to build upon what is already the most comprehensive and easily scalable product offering in the industry,” said Bandel Carano, Managing Partner at Oak Investment Partners, a venture capital and growth equity firm with over $8.4 billion under management. “We believe SmartDrive is the long-term winner in this industry and we are dedicating significant capital resources to help them expand their leadership position even further.”

Richard Kramlich, NEA General Partner and Co-Founder, added, “When NEA backs companies in fast-growing markets, our strategy is to focus on the number one player in the category. We believe SmartDrive is that player for fleet vehicle safety.” NEA is one of the oldest and largest venture capital funds in America and has over $8.5 billion in committed capital.

Both Richard Kramlich from NEA and Bandel Carano from Oak will be joining the Board of Directors for SmartDrive Systems, Inc.

About SmartDrive Systems

Based in San Diego with over 300 employees globally, SmartDrive's measured safety program reduces unsafe driving acts and common distractions by 2/3rds in three-months. By combining sight and sound, event analysis and driver coaching, SmartDrive's in-vehicle technology and associated web-based service reduces costs associated with vehicle collisions, workers' compensation and personal injury by greater than 50% percent.

For more information please go to: http://www.smartdrive.net/. Contact: Graham Ledger, Vice President, Marketing Communications, 858.225-5557, graham.ledger@SmartDrive.net.

About NEA

New Enterprise Associates (NEA) is a leading venture capital firm focused on helping entrepreneurs create and build major new enterprises that use technology to improve the way we live, work and play. NEA focuses on investments at all stages of a company's development, from seed stage through IPO. NEA's experienced management team has invested in more than 550 companies, of which more than 160 have gone public and more than 230 have been acquired. For more information on NEA, please visit: http://www.nea.com/.

About Oak

Oak Investment Partners is a multi-stage venture capital firm with a total of $8.4 billion in committed capital. The primary investment focus is on high growth opportunities in communications, information technology, new media, financial services information technology, healthcare services and consumer retail. Over a 28-year history, Oak has achieved a strong track record as a stage-independent investor funding more than 435 companies at key points in their lifecycle. For more information on Oak Investment Partners, please visit: http://www.oakvc.com/.