Comcast Ventures Backs Connected Car Startup

Unit Joined Automatic Labs's $24 Million ‘B’ Round
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Comcast Ventures, the V.C. arm of Comcast, was one of the companies that participated in a $24 million “B” round in Automatic Labs, a startup that has developed a connected car platform.

Comcast Ventures did not specify its investment. Automatic Labs, which has raised about $32 million so far, said the B round also included participation from an investment subsidiary of USAA (a top insurance and financial services provider for military families), CDK Global, along with existing investors Y Combinator, RPM Ventures, Anthemis Group, Amicus Capital, as well as several angel investors.

San Francisco-based Automatic Labs pairs an app with an in-car device that can help drivers diagnose engine trouble, detect accidents and send emergency responses.  According to the company, its adapter plugs into the standard diagnostics port hidden under the dash in most cars since 1996. When paired with that device, Automatic Labs’ app displays useful information about the user’s car and driving habits.

Automatic Labs sells its device for $99.95 via its own site, as well as at retailers such as Apple.com, Best Buy, Target, and Amazon.com. Automatic Labs was founded in 2011.

The latest round of financing follows the startup’s recent launch of the Automatic App Gallery, its app store for cars. Automatic Labs said it will use the fresh funds to accelerate growth and continue to expand its app store and developer platform.

“The Internet of Things is knocking on the door of one of the largest consumer markets, the $800B US car industry,” Michael Yang, managing director of Comcast Ventures, and Gavin Teo, principal of Comcast Ventures, noted in this blog post about the investment. “Over the last several years, talent, capital, consumer and enterprise attention have focused on the promise of bringing connected devices to all activities of daily living, and the automobile is an exciting new frontier.”

In May, Comcast announced that its Xfinity Home platform would support several devices from third-party providers, including Automatic Labs. Comcast also plans to release a software development kit (SDK) and a “Works with Xfinity Home” certification program later this year.

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