There might be no better time to announce our latest investment than this week — the week of the Detroit Auto Show. We are proud to announce our investment and participation in SEEVA Technologies’ seed round. SEEVA marks our first investment in automotive technologies and is focused on developing and commercializing visibility solutions for vehicles. Diane and team are best-in-class and focused on the building a highly innovative, problem-centric auto supplier for the future of mobility.
I first met Diane and Jere when they were at Techstars Detroit charting their course for the future — Diane, a previous founder and former Microsoft employee and Jere, a veteran engineer of the auto industry. Anyone who meets the father/daughter duo walks away impressed, energetic, and flush with admiration. In late November, our friend Reilly Brennan (who authors an amazing newsletter — sign up now!) at Trucks VC shot me a note saying he is leading the raise and would like for us to join and take a deep dive into the opportunity. Diane and Jere had been moving mountains out of Techstars and had recruited a world class team to complement themselves: a proven CTO who previously lead the charge at noteworthy technology institution; Derrick Redding is a veteran COO from the automotive industry after time at Johnson Controls and Toyota. Together, this duo will help Diane and Jere develop solutions and commercialize them at scale.
Focusing on the broad opportunity, we clearly saw a need for a set of solutions to help drivers, ADAS, and AV systems stay free of obstructions. As we see the ramp of ADAS and AV systems, the eyes and ears of our vehicles have to be free of obstruction. Software alone won’t solve this problem. The market opportunity among existing vehicles is large (260M vehicles registered in the US), with commercial vehicles (12M Class3/8 registered) having the most acute need in the after market. The ramp of semi and fully autonomous systems will only drive the need for such visibility products — ADAS growth in passenger vehicles alone is expected to be 20%+ on a compounded basis through 2022.
The first product, SEEVATherm, is a patented washer fluid heater technology that uses hot engine coolant to heat up washer fluid that more efficiently and more quickly breaks through ice, snow, mud, bugs, and more. Both OEMs and commercial fleets were actively voicing the fact that there is a need for this product and on-going solutions for visibility problems. The 3.5M truck drivers out there who move freight through challenging environments would be safer and more efficient on the road. We won’t hear stories about waiting 20 mins to thaw a windshield or driving through a bug catch with minimal visibility. Future products in the pipeline are solving acute needs with Jere, Derrick, and the soon-to-be announced CTO co-opting across mechanical, chemical, hardware, and software expertise.
What might be lost in all of this are the dynamics of an antiquated industry. Auto suppliers are in a pole position to help drive innovation through the value chain but have largely lost their innovative roots. We believe Diane and her team are wired to always challenge and improve upon the status quo — innovation is the bane of their existence. In the process, we would not be surprised if SEEVA becomes a well known name in the automotive industry as the supplier of choice that helps drive massive advances across the industry. We are extremely excited to welcome Diane, Jere, Derrick, and their CTO to the Dynamo family.