Shell acquires EV company. The state of battery tech. CarGurus IPO.
Clearing the lot
CarGurus, a Mass.-based online car research and shopping marketplace, raced out of the gates with its Thursday IPO, as shares traded roughly 75% above the offering price of $16.
The company flew under the radar in tech circles due to its relative dearth of VC funding:
Both new-car and used-car dealers face pressure on many sides: direct sales (Tesla), all-inclusive subscriptions (Cadillac Book, Porsche Passport, Fair), peer-to-peer startups, and more. And of course, beyond these looms the trendy threats of autonomy and MaaS.
Nevertheless, automotive commerce — retailing, financing, renting, and servicing vehicles — remains a formidable business. A 2016 ranking by Automotive News listed three US dealer groups generating over $10B in total revenue, with dozens more over the $1B mark.
GM Cruise acquired Strobe this week, a startup working on single-chip lidar sensors claimed to reduce costs by 99%. BMW-backed Ridecell also bought autonomous shuttle startup Auro Robotics.
Both trends are worth watching; on the former, we may well see more AV developers follow Waymo’s route of developing both software and hardware (John Krafcik is known for quoting Alan Kay’s famous aphorism on the subject).
On the latter point, we may also see further consolidation among all of the scattered startups and teams working across AV stack (Michael Dempsey of Compound has a good note for further reading here).