[Full disclosure: Zubie CEO Tim Kelly is also the father of VentureBeat reporter Meghan Kelly.]
We’ve seen plenty of gadgets try to make our cars smarter, but investors have apparently taken a liking to newcomer Zubie.
The Charleston, South Carolina-based company, which makes a $100 gadget that plugs into your car and sends updates to apps on your phone over cellular networks, announced today that it has raised $10 million in a first round of funding from Castrol InnoVentures, Comporium, and OpenAir Equity Partners.
When Zubie launched back in September, the company had just recently announced an $8 million first round of funding — today’s announcement just adds $2 million on top of that. While somewhat unusual, the new funding is a sign that investors are confident in Zubie’s technology.
Zubie’s big innovation is in its connectivity. While most connected car gadgets simply talk to your phone over Bluetooth when it’s nearby, Zubie’s Key gadget has a cellular connection that’s always on, allowing you to do things like track your family’s vehicles anywhere in the U.S. The Zubie Key also tracks your car’s vitals and your driving habits, which can help you avoid surprise breakdowns.
“Our mission is simple: We want to make driving safer, easier, and less expensive,” said Tim Kelly, Zubie’s chief executive, in an interview with VentureBeat back in September.
Buyers of the $100 Zubie key get one year of Zubie’s T-Mobile-powered wireless service, but you’ll need to pay $100 a year for additional service. Other connected car services like OnStar typically cost around $30 a month, so Kelly believes Zubie is offering a much better deal.