SmartDrive Systems raises $12 million

Ronny Kerr · October 16, 2009 · Short URL:

SmartRecorder System seeks to make better drivers and limit company liabilities

SmartDriveSmartDrive Systems, delivering a video-based safety solution for fleet managers, has raised $12 million in a potential $25 million venture capital deal, according to a regulatory filing. Oak Investment Partners and New Enterprise Associates, two Silicon Valley-based investment firms, contributed to the latest round. Since its founding in 2004, SmartDrive Systems has now raised a total of $22 million.

Based in San Diego, CA, SmartDrive Systems provides a service for fleet managers that seeks to make better drivers and decrease collision frequency. The SmartRecorder System monitors precise movements of vehicles and actions taken by drivers, recording the exact time and place for each significant occurrence, like unsafe merging or an unsafe lane change.

SmartDrive says its program reduces the frequency of collisions by 50% and greatly limits liability, physical damage, and worker's compensation.

Tom Merlino, Director of Safety and Risk Management at Ampco System Parking, describes the benefit of SmartDrive Systems in a testimonial video on the company's site:

"I can tell you about within the last three weeks, we had three collisions, all of which we're not at fault. And that paid for the cost of the program at the three sites that those collisions occurred at."

Skeptics might usually write off these testimonials as aimless praise, but, abus collisionfter Merlino makes the above claim, the video cuts to actual footage of one of Ampco's buses getting struck by another bus. Merlino continues:

"It was pretty obvious that we got cutoff by another bus at an airport location. Those were immediate results that we're benefiting from where if we didn't have the SmartDrive camera in the vehicle, it could have been a he-said-she-said situation."

Asked if the return on investment in SmartDrive was significant, Merlino replied, "It's an absolute no-brainer." 

This latest round of funding will likely be spent on marketing so that the company can expand its roster of clientele and try to beat out its competitors, like DriveCam. Already, SmartDrive Systems serves a great deal of transit and fleet companies like Ampco System Parking, The Salvation Army, and Allied Waste Services.

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