Massachusetts-based Cambridge Mobile Telematics, which offers safe driving technology that is used globally by insurers and other firms, said it has attracted a $500 million investment from the SoftBank Vision Fund that it will use to grow globally.
“This partnership with the Vision Fund is the start of the next stage of our journey to bring safe mobility solutions for people and goods at a massive scale,” Hari Balakrishnan, CMT’s co-founder, chairman and CTO, said in prepared remarks.
SoftBank Vision Fund’s largest backer is the Saudi government, which has prompted some to question the firm’s accepting monies from the Saudis since the U.S. government has concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October.
In an interview with WBUR Radio in Boston, CMT’s Balakrishnan said it is fair for some to question partnering with the Saudi-backed venture fund, but stressed that his company is not partnering directly with the Saudi government. He said SoftBank has publicly condemned the killing and Balakrishnan did as well.
The Cambridge, Mass.-based company wants to promote adoption of its DriveWell platform that insurers, fleets, wireless carriers and other entities can use to measure driving risk and improve driver safety. CMT claims DriveWell reduces phone distraction by 35 percent on average within 30 days, and at-risk speeding and hard braking by 20 percent.
The firm also expects to use the funds to advance its work in automated crash and claims management, video analytics and safety for emerging vehicle and mobility systems.
The company’s technology draws on mobile sensing, artificial intelligence and behavioral science. Customers use the technology to measure driving performance for insurance pricing, provide incentives to improve driving quality, and lower operating costs by reducing crash rates and automating some claims processing functions.
CMT’s partners include State Farm, Liberty Mutual, Desjardins, Discovery, Admiral, MS&AD Group, QBE, AIG and Insurance Australia Group, with a global customer base of several million users. It now works with customers in more than 20 countries.
SoftBank’s investment is subject to regulatory approval, according to CMT.
CMT launched in 2010 as an outgrowth of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence lab.
Source: Cambridge Mobile Telematics
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