Cambridge Mobile Telematics Secures $500M Investment from Softbank Vision Fund

The investment will be used to accelerate adoption of CMT’s DriveWell platform for insurers, fleets, wireless carriers, and other entities to measure driving risk and improve driver safety.

(Image source: CMT homepage.)

Cambridge Mobile Telematics (CMT; Cambridge, Mass.), a global mobile telematics and analytics provider, has secured a $500 million investment from the SoftBank Vision Fund (London). Upon regulatory approval, the investment will be used to accelerate the adoption of CMT’s successful DriveWell platform used by insurers, fleets, wireless carriers, and other entities to measure driving risk and improve driver safety. The funds will also fuel CMT’s growth in automated crash and claims management, video analytics, and safety for emerging vehicle and mobility systems, according to a CMT statement.

Hari Balakrishnan, Chairman and CTO, CMT.

CMT works with customers in more than 20 countries, measuring driving performance for insurance pricing, providing incentives to improve driving quality, and lowering operating costs by reducing crash rates and automating some claims processing functions. CMT’s partners include prominent insurers, such as State Farm, Liberty Mutual, Desjardins, Discovery, Admiral, MS&AD Group, QBE, AIG, and Insurance Australia Group, yielding a global customer base of several million users.

“CMT is breaking new ground in the application of telematics, machine learning, and behavioral analytics to solve challenging problems in insurance and safety,” comments Akshay Naheta, Partner, SoftBank Investment Advisers. “CMT is uniquely positioned to help insurers develop the insights to better support customers and advance their operations, while promoting long-term improvements in driving standards around the world.”

Safer Roads through Better Drivers

Akshay Naheta, Partner, SoftBank Investment Advisers.

“Over the past few years, the DriveWell platform has helped make roads safer by making drivers better in a world where crashes are rising due to factors like distracted driving,” comments Hari Balakrishnan, CMT’s Chairman and CTO, who founded CMT with Bill Powers (CEO) and Sam Madden (Chief Scientist). “Our rapid growth has been fueled by a culture that values collaboration with our customers and invests in research to improve our solutions and develop new products. This partnership with the Vision Fund is the start of the next stage of our journey to bring safe mobility solutions for people and goods at massive scale.”

CMT boasts many innovations since the firm was founded, in 2010, out of Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab. Among the firm’s claimed innovations are the deployment of the first service to efficiently gather and process sensory data from phones for auto insurance (2012), use phone sensors to measure phone distraction (2013), and induce better driving with gamification (2014). The firm’s “behavior-based insurance” or “mobile usage-based insurance.” Have delivered what the vendor characterized as compelling results: the driving feedback, rewards, and contests delivered via the DriveWell platform reduce phone distraction by 35 percent on average with 30 days, and at-risk speeding and hard braking by 20 percent. These improvements translate to significant measurable reductions in crashes and insurance claims, according to CMT.

CMT reports that its DriveWell Tag, invented in 2014, was the first fully wireless “Internet of Things” (IoT) device to measure vehicle dynamics for actuarial scoring and for real-time impact alerts with roadside assistance; in 2018, CMT shipped its 6 millionth Tag. Since 2016, CMT has introduced new services for crash reconstruction and loss notification with telematics data, dashcam video analytics for risk scoring, fleet features for commercial insurance, and best-in-class risk scoring models. These models, which have already been approved by several regulators, are useful to insurers for more accurately pricing risk using telematics data and have been approved.

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Anthony R. O’Donnell // Anthony O'Donnell is Executive Editor of Insurance Innovation Reporter. For nearly two decades, he has been an observer and commentator on the use of information technology in the insurance industry, following industry trends and writing about the use of IT across all sectors of the insurance industry. He can be reached at [email protected] or (503) 936-2803.

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