Consumers today say one of their main concerns when buying a vehicle is to see how many features close to the “connected car” ideal that model has. But how about having any vehicle turned into that ideal connected car?
Usually those wanting their car to be essentially an extension of their smartphones also need to be prepared to pay a royalty for the features, with cars connected to the Internet and loaded with apps typically going for $30,000 or more. And since the average vehicle age is eleven years, we can see how most of America’s road going vehicles is not only nowhere near the ideal, but actually a few generations back. But fret not, there’s an upcoming solution – a promising Texas start-up that wants to offer a device for $99 that can be plugged into the old car’s computer to morph it into a futuristic connected car. Based in Dallas, Vinli recently announced it had secured a $6.5 million Series A financing that has a primary backer the Samsung Venture Investment Corporation. And the company is also assisted by the likes of Cox Automotive, Continental and The Westly Group.
The idea is rather simple: Vinli has the connected car platform that comes with a mobile WiFi hotspot and a comprehensive App Store that makes sure the driver has more than one choice in customizing their motoring experience much in the way they would do with their smartphone. “We believe Vinli will change how people interact with their cars on a day-to-day basis by making cars smarter, safer and more enjoyable,” comments Mark Haidar, the company’s chief executive officer. His backers are clearly thinking they will do so: Samsung is a leading global consumer electronics company, Cox is the owner of Kelley Blue Book and AutoTrader, which are leading US digital auto marketplaces and Continental is a giant world auto supplier.