Connect with top gaming leaders in Los Angeles at GamesBeat Summit 2023 this May 22-23. Register here.
Smartphones are good for a lot of things, but they’re not so good when it comes to safe driving.
But Navdy, a company that recently revealed the head-up display it’s been working on, wants to harness all of a smartphone’s magic in a safe way. And today, the company is revealing that a few months ago, it raised $6.5 million in seed funding from a collection of investors.
Navdy’s head-up display is a tiny projector mounted in front of a reflective glass. It projects images six feet in front of the windshield for a natural feel. It can be mounted in virtually any car model because of its adjustable base design. It lets you keep your eyes on the road and interact with your phone’s notifications and apps, including text messages, phone calls, navigation, and music through simple gestures.
The company describes its product as “Google Glass for your car.”
Since opening up pre-orders in early August, the company has been surprised by the level of interest. It sold more than 3,300 units for a total of $1 million in the first seven days, and the company has even extended the pre-order window for longer than the originally planned 30 days due to the high demand. It’s actually still open, so go ahead and order one if you like.
“We didn’t expect this level of interest this quickly,” Navdy co-founder and chief executive Doug Simpson told me.
In fact, the company has received more than 600 email inquiries from car dealerships, OEMs, and other parties interested in integrating or selling Navdy’s display.
“Navdy has a broad set of potential partners and already has some interesting partnerships in the works,” Navdy investor Semil Shah said in an email to VentureBeat.
“Car manufacturers, cell carriers and data providers, and the phone handset makers themselves all think of the car as a new consumer frontier, as well as all the companies that provide apps and services that are of high use in a vehicle, such as audio music and radio, navigation, directory listings, and more,” he said.
But even more interesting is that Navdy has been approached by and is talking to “companies that have a lot of cars,” such as ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft, car rental companies, delivery services, and so on, though Simpson declined to go into much detail. Ride-sharing services that require drivers to interact frequently with their phones may find that a head-up option improves safety.
“I can’t confirm anything right now, but yeah we’re definitely interested in working with these types of companies,” he said. I wouldn’t be surprised if we start to see Navdy head-up displays showing up in rental cars or Uber/Lyft cars.
Simpson also said that while Navdy wasn’t going to think about a next round of funding until it ships its product, it’s already seen interest from investors and has begun to have some conversations about it.
Upfront Ventures led this round with additional participation from Ludlow Ventures, Lightbank, Promus Ventures, MESA+, Eniac Ventures, Wareness.Io, Shervin Pishevar, Naval Ravikant, Don Norman, Eric Ries, Semil Shah, Dan Shapiro, and others.
Navdy was founded in Oct. 2012 by Doug Simpson and Karl Guttag and is based in San Francisco. It participated in PCH International’s hardware-focused accelerator program Highway 1 in 2013.
VentureBeat's mission is to be a digital town square for technical decision-makers to gain knowledge about transformative enterprise technology and transact. Discover our Briefings.