Nexar In Key Deal With Insurer, Expanding to New York, Las Vegas

Autonomous vehicles are coming, but aren’t here yet. The good news is, you can still “smarten up” your car, no matter how old it is, with a few gadgets available today.

One of them is the Nexar app, which tracks traffic conditions and predicts crashes.

NexarGifThe Israeli startup, launched last year, is expanding to New York by sealing a partnership with a “major insurance company,” said founder Bruno Ruiz.

“We are mainly targeting fleets, and already have couple of dozen partners with fleets of 30 to 70 cars, one has 200,” Ruiz said. “But with this new partnership, we’ll be tapping into a very large fleet.”

Another partnership with a rideshare is in the works.

Ruiz would not disclose the names of the companies.

As part of the partnership, the insurance company will offer its customers a 10% discount if they opt in Nexar’s network.

“It’s a win-win: customers get the added safety, while the insurance company gets detailed collision reports and even driving scores from us,” he said. Using the smartphone’s accelerometer and camera, Nexar tracks the driver’s behavior – things like hard breaks and speeding – and divines those into driving scores.

“Insurance companies are also interested in this data to reward good driving behavior,” he said. When enough drivers join, Ruiz said, the score may also be useful for OEMs looking to reward drivers in their lease programs. “We are certainly looking into this, but we have yet to get enough deployment.”

Nexar utilizes machine-learning algorithms, meaning the more drivers who join, the smarter the software will get in predicting crashes. The company has seen 100,000 downloads of its app so far, but, according to Ruiz, downloads are not a good measure of the app’s usage.

“We look at hours of driving, since that’s what generates the data for us,” he explained. “We currently see 50,000 hours of driving per week, and the number is growing at 20% each month.”

Nexar operates in San Francisco, New York and is launching in Las Vegas this week. The startup raised $14.5 million in two rounds of funding so far.

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