Atlanta-based Automotive Ventures has closed its inaugural, oversubscribed $7 million fund.
The fund looks to invest in the expanding automotive and mobility space, which includes the electrification of cars, the explosion of auto-specific data analytics, and sensor technology, and even how we think about car ownership.
Steve Greenfield and Justin Charbonneau, both Emory graduates, launched the fund officially last December and look to be the “first money in” for early-stage startups in the space.
“It’s not cliche to say that we’re going to see more change in the next 10 years in the automotive and mobility space than we will have in the past 100,” Greenfield told Hypepotamus.
Greenfield brings 21 years of experience in the automotive industry before starting his first venture at Atlanta Tech Village, where he was initially connected to Charbonneau.
The fund has 70 LPs to date, many of whom have also come on as co-investors in recent investment rounds.
Greenfield and Charbonneau launched the fund in December and have already invested in seven startups, including Algodriven, Car Capital, HopDrive, Lender Compliance Technologies, RoboTire, SparkCharge, and WarrCloud.
While the fund is geographically agnostic when it comes to investing, Greenfield said he is particularly enthusiastic about Atlanta’s startup potential. The city is home to Cox Automotive — which includes Manheim, AutoTrader, Kelley Blue Book, and Dealertrack — along with Black Book (owned by Hearst) and several transportation-focused accelerators. “Atlanta has an opportunity, hopefully only partially fueled by us, to really get on the map for being a crucible for innovation.”
Accelerators and technology hubs in the area include Curiosity Lab at Peachtree Corners, a “living lab” for intelligent mobility and smart city technology, and The Ray, a living lab for CleanTech and transportation technology integrated into part of I-85.
“Innovation still has to happen,” Greenfield added. “Entrepreneurs who are willing to take risks, funded by hopefully for people like us, and our chasing the right solutions, outsized returns should be able to be made for investors.”
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Photo by Samuel Agbetunsin on Unsplash