Nexar, a dashcam recording app that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze road conditions and warn of hazardous events, has raised $30 million in a series B round of funding led by Ibex Investors, with participation from Alibaba Innovation Ventures, Mosaic Ventures, Nationwide Insurance, Aleph, Slow Ventures, True Ventures, and Tusk Ventures.
Founded out of Israel in 2015, Nexar launched initially as a way for iPhone-toting drivers to transform their phone into a smart windshield camera that analyzes the road and recognizes traffic lights and bad drivers, while also recording all events in case of an accident. Nexar can detect a hard brake, for example, or automatically record and upload a video of a collision, though drivers can also manually create an incident within the app by tapping the screen or issuing a “Hey Nexar” voice command, which saves a video clip for the 20 seconds before and after the request.
The Nexar app, which later launched for Android users too, uses machine learning and computer vision smarts to interpret the direction, speed, and acceleration of every car it sees so as to predict potential mishaps.
To date, Nexar had raised $14.5 million in funding, and with another $30 million in the bank the company said that it will “further its mission of eliminating car crashes” by expanding its vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) network through working with insurers, cities, and automakers.
On the surface Nexar is a simple dashcam recording app, but the company is working with various parties to put the data it captures to good use, including so-called “smart city” infrastructure projects, and insurance companies. Indeed, drivers who have the Nexar app activated can have their accident recreated using a combination of captured footage and data from a phone’s built-in sensors, which may help prove (or disprove) an explanation provided by drivers or witnesses.
Nexar said that its biggest markets are in New York City — where it’s used by more than 10 percent of the city’s ride-sharing drivers — San Francisco, Tel Aviv, and Las Vegas.
“Our primary goal has always been to use AI-based systems to make driving smarter and safer, and we’re enthusiastic about the progress we’ve made so far towards our goal of eliminating collisions on the roads,” explained Nexar cofounder and CEO Eran Shir.
In addition to the funding, Nexar also revealed two new hires: Former Disney executive Yoad Shraybom has joined as CTO, alongside new chief business officer Marc Gaffan.
“This new infusion of funding and the addition of Yoad and Marc to our team will allow us to continue to grow our network and create accessible, data-driven solutions to help make vehicle collisions a thing of the past,” added Shir.