BestMile announces the addition of new partners to its capital to further pursue its vision for autonomous and shared mobility
Back from CeBIT where they presented their very first live autonomous shuttle demonstration, BestMile announces a new investment of $2M from Partech Ventures, Serena Capital and Airbus Ventures. In parallel, the EPFL spin-off was shortlisted for the Digital Top 50 Awards organized jointly by Google, Mac Kinsey & RocketInternet where they reached the TOP 10 B2B Scale-ups and their work recently received the New Product Innovation Award from Frost&Sullivan. Alp ICT interviewed the cofounders Raphaël Gindrat and Anne Mellano about their vision and coming projects.
Created in 2014 with a first pilot project in 2015, your company has grown more quickly than you expected in terms of project development, recognition and fundraising. What are the reasons for such success?
BestMile is the pioneer provider of the first fleet automation platform allowing for the intelligent operation and optimization of autonomous vehicle fleets. We have been managing autonomous vehicles for more than 3 years locally (projects with CarPostal, TPF in Marly, MBC in Morges, CFF in Zug, “SmartShuttle” in Sion, CityMobil2 in Lausanne, Civaux and Confluence in France and several fleets are being implemented in Europe, the United States and Japan -ndlr) and have establish strong partnerships in the industry (Local Motors, Trapeze, Next Future Transportation, GoMentum Station -ndlr). After the time consuming process of trial and partnership development, we are finally at a stage where we benefit from a significant feedback and experience that enable us to launch larger fleets.
Moreover, the platform is vehicle agnostic, ideal for mixed autonomous fleet and compatible with all types of vehicles. It can be extended to operate fleets of human driven vehicles and this flexibility caught the interest of car manufacturers.
Car manufacturers seem to be actively seeking partners to develop the technology of autonomous vehicles in preparation of 2020, with major events such as the Olympic Games in Japan and the Universal Exhibition in Dubaï. What is the impact on your business?
We are indeed in a time of acceleration. The events you mentioned dictate deployment opportunities for car manufacturers. Most of them want to adapt their business model in order to be ready by 2020 for the first applications of autonomous vehicles on the market.
The many projects, announcements and requests from the car manufacturers in 2017 show that it is a pivotal year. Today, a fleet is made of 2 to 20 vehicles but they are about to increase up to 50. In 2 to 5 years, autonomous vehicles will become part of the shared mobility system in specific areas (i.e. city centers). What is most interesting about autonomous vehicles is the flexibility they offer for ride sharing. Today, public transport means collective transport, but tomorrow it will be individual or semi-individual with a small vehicle shared with a few people for a more specific route.
However, the speed of adoption and deployment depends on public authorities, legislation and on the will of car manufacturers, which are waiting for the first one to start.
Your seed round reaches $5.5M with the addition of $2M. How will the funds be used and what are the next steps?
The additional funds will be used to accelerate the deployment of BestMile’s platform internationally and strengthen its technology, sales and marketing resources across Europe and the United States, where there are great oppotunities.
It will help us further our goal of delivering the best mobility management platform to a fast-growing industry as it brings massive value to the market.
Last but not least, the recent investment anticipates a series A financing of about $20M planned this summer that will enable us to grow our team from 30 people (distributed in Lausanne, London and San Francisco -ndlr) up to 80.
- On 16 April 2017
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