One of the promised benefits of Web3 is decentralization – a decentralization that minimizes the reliance on platforms and also allows owners to have control over their data. The emergence of IoT in the automotive is space is powering connected cars and creating a significant amount of valuable data – data that’s often being sold to third parties through OEM systems, unbeknownst to the vehicle owner. DIMO is a decentralized vehicle data network that allows drivers to submit their vehicle data to improve the future of transportation while managing the vehicle’s performance and health. The company is in the process of launching a token to compensate drivers for submitting their vehicle data but also to build an ecosystem for developers and data end-users to equitably access and use the network data. Cars produce more data than any other consumer device – 1500x more data than web browsing. The DIMO platform has a multitude of use cases today as the data can support things like insurance, maintenance, financing, used car sales, fleet operations, and charging infrastructure. As the number of connected cars increases, the platform is agile enough to support new applications.
AlleyWatch caught up with DIMO CEO and Cofounder Andy Chatham to learn more about the inspiration for the business, the future of decentralized vehicle data, the company’s strategic plans, recent round of funding, and much, much more…
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
We raised $9M in Seed funding from CoinFund, Variant Fund, Slow Ventures, Table Management (Bill Ackman), Wonder Ventures, Streamr, Stratos Technologies, Lattice, and angels including Rick Wagoner (fmr. CEO of GM), Mark Joseph (CEO, Mobitas Advisors), Trevor McFederies (CEO, Brud), Amir Haleem (CEO, Helium), Kiran Bhatraju (CEO Arcadia), Ro Gupta (CEO, Carmera), Michael Cena (CEO, 3Box Labs), Jake Chervinsky (Head of Policy, Blockchain Association), Packy McCormack (Not Boring Capital), Mason Borda (CEO, Tokensoft).
Tell us about the product or service that DIMO offers.
The vision behind the DIMO network is simple: make it easy for consumers and fleets to take ownership of their mobility data, unlocking better apps and services in automotive finance, insurance, shared mobility, maintenance, and more. To accomplish this, Digital Infrastructure Inc and a group of partners including AutoPi and Streamr are seeding a software and hardware ecosystem:
Since launching App.Dimo.Zone in December of 2021, Digital Infrastructure Inc. has seen tremendous traction: over 17,000 vehicles added, demand from over 700 fleets, and dozens of mobility services companies have begun to build on the platform.
2,500 DIMO-enabled Data Miners have been pre-ordered through Shop.Dimo.Zone, and the first units have already been delivered and installed in consumer vehicles. This device enables any car to establish a private, secure hardware connection to the DIMO network, allowing users to add connected vehicle functionality to their vehicle, and opt-out of default options provided by OEMs.
Our team was frustrated by the difficulty of accessing streaming data on electric vehicle battery performance, and we were inspired by the performance of user-owned IoT networks like Helium.
How is DIMO different?
We’re building a user-owned network, which means that consumers, fleets, app developers, and other contributors to the project can earn stakes in DIMO.
What market does DIMO target and how big is it?
Mobility is second only to food and housing, and vehicle ownership/mobility services is a massive sub-category. DIMO is set up to re-platform many of these transactions into a more user-oriented marketplace, and this will result in some great things for society as a whole.
What’s your business model?
We make it easy for users to connect and store their own vehicle data, and provide useful things for them to do with it via apps and services on the platform.
What are your post-COVID office plans??
We have a shared space at 100 Bogart in Bushwick, and offices in Providence, Rhode Island + Ann Arbor, Michigan.
What was the funding process like?
It’s always hard to get to the first “Yes” but after that it was relatively easy for us. It helped that we had solid traction with the product and great partners.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
Explaining why user-owned IoT networks make sense for mobility to investors who were not familiar with the web3 world.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
It is at the intersection of several mega-trends: crypto/web3, connected/automated vehicles, and mobility electrification.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
We’re delivering 5,000+ hardware devices, and 100x’ing the number of vehicles connected to the platform. There will also be many new software features and early applications to use once you connect your vehicle to DIMO.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Stay focused on users, and capital will follow. Don’t be afraid to make money in the early days doing things that won’t scale.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
We plan to use the proceeds from the financing round to:
- Open-source its core software platform and release an SDK for developers to build applications using DIMO hardware.
- Add hardware supply and support the production of additional DIMO-compatible devices.
- Seed apps and services for target groups like EV manufacturers and electric utilities, helping vehicles charge with clean power, and helping drivers figure out how to switch to zero-emission vehicles.
- Further decentralize the project to facilitate governance by drivers, public and private fleets, and app developers.
What’s your favorite outdoor dining restaurant in NYC?
Roberta’s in Bushwick!