A new startup called Local Motion is providing the tools necessary for businesses to reduce waste and right-size their fleets of cars, which could save them significant money in the long term. To move forward, the startup has just taken $6 million in Series A financing from Andreessen Horowitz, and will be adding former Microsoft exec and recent a16z addition Steven Sinofsky to its board.
Local Motion, in short, wants to bring the same sort of efficiencies that the sharing economy promises to consumers — the ability to curtail ownership in certain goods and help manage usage to make them more readily available when needed — and apply those principles to enterprise and government entities.
With that in mind, the company has built a combination of hardware and software that will let users gain access to cars in a fleet, while also providing management tools for companies and government agencies to make sharing those cars more efficient. On the hardware side, Local Motion has a small box that connects to a car’s on-board computer to allow users to unlock doors, while providing valuable usage information that feeds back into a SaaS-based dashboard for managing a fleet.
Employees, meanwhile, get instant access to vehicles, without having to worry about having a particular set of keys — they simply grab the nearest available car. And how do they know whether it’s available or not? Well, the system can automate bookings and even has a mobile app for finding unused vehicles in the fleet.
With the improved access to vehicles comes the ability for employees to better share the available cars. No longer is a single car assigned to an individual or a group that only uses it about 20 percent of the time. Instead, the shared pool of cars means drastically more efficient usage across the entire organization. Local Motion estimates that its customers reduce usage by 30 percent within their fleets.
As time goes on, that means that fleets can be downsized so the company is only keeping the number of cars necessary. It also ensures that the cars can be kept on a regular maintenance schedule, and can give data about the energy consumption or speed patterns of various drivers.
And there’s a big opportunity out there: There are about 10 million fleet vehicles on the road today, and they represent between 5 percent and 20 percent of all auto sales, but the companies and organizations that buy them generally don’t have the tools to know how they’re being used. Local Motion estimates that in many cases, only 40 percent of the cars in a fleet are being used, while another 20 percent are broken without a fleet operator realizing it.
Already Local Motion has been chosen by a couple of big clients to help them manage their fleets of vehicles. That includes Google and the City of Sacramento, as well as Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh’s Downtown Project, which plans to use the technology to manage its fleet of Teslas. But it plans to aggressively expand to capture more of the enterprise and government markets for fleet management.
Founded by John Stanfield, who had been working on an electric car for urban areas that could shared among multiple people, as well as Clement Gires, who worked on Paris’ Velib bicycle-sharing program, the startup is well positioned to bring sharing to the enterprise.
The funding from Andreessen Horowitz should help, as should the advice of new board member Sinofsky, who is no stranger to managing or working with large, complex organizations. Local Motion had previously raised seed funding from investors that include Lemnos Labs, Draper & Associates, Morado Venture Partners, VegasTechFund, and AME Cloud Ventures.