Arguably, one of the most important recent hires in mobility was nuTonomy’s adding of Gretchen Effgen to its team of executives.
NuTonomy, which builds self-driving cars and autonomous robots, announced on Jan. 23 that it has hired Effgen, a former Zipcar executive, to the newly created role of vice president of partnerships. NuTonomy is charging Effgen with shaping the company’s global partnership strategy as it prepares for the 2018 launch of what the company is calling “the world’s first commercial autonomous vehicle mobility-on-demand system.”
She will report directly to nuTonomy CEO and co-founder Karl Iagnemma.
“I look forward to identifying growth opportunities for nuTonomy through creative partnerships, while further enhancing the company’s strong leadership position in the rapidly developing global autonomous transportation industry,” Effgen said in the statement.
NuTonomy was founded in Cambridge, Mass., in 2013 as an MIT spin-off working with automotive manufacturers and startups to reinvent personal mobility.
At the time of this publication, nuTonomy had not responded to press inquiries about possible growth opportunities or the types of creative partnerships that Effgen will seek, but in the past, the company has partnered with Uber’s Southeast Asian rival Grab.
At Zipcar, where Effgen worked from 2010 to 2014, she served as a vice president of strategy and corporate development. Recently, she served as executive vice president at smart parking solutions company CivicSmart.
NuTonomy initially gained attention last August for publicly beat Uber to test self-driving cars, when it began a pilot program in Singapore, just as Uber began testing its autonomous vehicles in Pittsburgh. Following this, nuTonomy and Grab partnered to include Grab customers during its initial two months of testing.
Most recently, the company began testing a fleet of self-driving Renault Zoe electric vehicles on public roads at a park in Boston’s Seaport area.
Overall, the company has an ambitious and integrated business model within the autonomous vehicle market. The company aims to provide point-to-point mobility via large fleets of autonomous vehicles; this includes software for autonomous vehicle navigation in urban environments, smartphone-based ride-hailing, fleet routing and management, and controlling a vehicle remotely through teleoperation.
The company has raised a total of $19.6 million in two rounds from five investors, including $16 million from a Series A round last May.
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