Fierce 15 2016: Automile aiming to disrupt the telematics industry

Editor's note: Welcome to the 2016 Fierce 15, an annual list that recognizes 15 of the most interesting startups in the wireless industry. We'll publish one profile a day for 15 days; Automile is the twelfth company to be recognized this year.

Company Name: Automile
Where it's based: Palo Alto, California
When it was founded: 2013

Why it's Fierce: Automile is disrupting the $30 billion telematics market with a vehicle tracking solution that the company says takes mere minutes to set up. Founder Jens Nylander, said the industry was ripe for disruption, as Internet of Things solutions had at that point largely been confined to connected homes, cars and healthcare solutions – leaving fleet management at the mercy of legacy providers.

“[A] majority of the businesses today don’t have a solution, leaving a big greenfield opportunity,” Nylander wrote in an email to FierceWireless. “The challenge to take on legacy players is always very exciting to me, and I saw the opportunity and that is when the idea of Automile was born.”

Automile tracks business fleets of between 3-250 vehicles. The company boasts that its tracking sensor is easy to install on vehicles, with no complex setup, and brings vehicle and trip intelligence to mobile and desktop apps. The sensor is also housed in its own device, so it doesn't sap cellphone batteries – though of course it will still need a network connection.

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Indeed, businesses appear to be taking notice. Nylander noted that a whopping 85 percent of companies that take advantage of Automile's 60-day free trial stick with the service. Furthermore, it has garnered big name customers including Ricoh, Avis and Nestle.

After its trial period, Automile has three pricing tiers: Starter at $5.90 per month per vehicle, Pro for $14.90 and Enterprise for $19.90. Successive tiers include features such as real-time location tracking, geofencing, accident alerts, risk reduction and predictive maintenance.

Founded in Sweden in 2013, the privately owned Automile moved to Silicon Valley in 2015 and the company now has 28 employees. In September 2016 it had $2.4M in annual revenue with 12 percent month-by-month increases. It continues to serve companies in Europe.

Automile recently completed a Series A funding round of $6.2 million, which was led by Jason Lemkin and his SaaStr Fund along with Twitch founder Justin Kan, Skype founder Niklas Zennström and Pingdom founder Sam Nurmi. Prior to that, Automile raised $5.35 million in a seed round.

What's next: Nylander's goal for now is to keep expanding to new businesses and improving its platform, as Nylander sees considerable potential that's yet unfilled.

“Automile’s vision is to connect the cars of the world and bring increased productivity and savings at the door step of every business by tapping into the power of IoT and big data,” he said. “Automile is investing heavily in Research and Development to continue to build an open platform/ecosystem to solve for the broader challenges around managing vehicles and mobile workforce.”

Read more: FierceWireless's Fierce 15 2016