Otonomo, a connected automotive company that has seen its stock price plummet since going public in 2021, has announced that it is coming together with Urgent.ly, a roadside assistance tech provider, in a reverse merger. The two are combining in an all-share deal that will see Urgently shareholders take 67% of the company and Otonomo shareholders take 33%. The stock, which had traded under OTMO on Nasdaq, will now trade under the ULY ticker.
Otonomo went public in 2021 on Nasdaq in a SPAC deal that valued the company at $1.4 billion at its debut. But the writing for it (and indeed SPACs) may have been on the wall, though: by the end of the first day of trading, its market cap had dipped to $1.1 billion, and that was definitely not the bottom: currently the company’s market cap is just over $70 million.
The deal is expected to close in in Q3 2023, the companies said, and it confirmed that there is no further capital being invested into the business as part of the deal.
It’s been a bumpy road for smart mobility technology — with macroeconomic pressures, the slower development and rollouts of next-generation technology like autonomous systems, and the cooling tech investing market all making it harder for younger businesses to sustain and grow their businesses. Otonomo is perhaps the latest casualty in that pile-up but it may not be the last.
We are asking how many people from Otonomo are joining with the deal and will update this story with that detail when and if we get it. The companies note that the acquisition will result in “meaningful” “cost savings” so there will be some cutting done in the process regardless.
The companies plan to merge their technologies and work on what they describe as “cross selling”. Urgent.ly’s investors include BMW, Jaguar Land Rover and Porsche, and Otonomo’s investors in the past have included Avis, Alliance Holdings. SK Holdings and Bessemer. Otonomo today provides services like fleet management, data that feeds diagnostics, mapping, traffic and safety management services, and more. It’s not the hardware provider that creates the data, but it offers a platform that’s able to harness and organize the data produced by vehicles. As we have previously written, once the data is securely collected, the platform modifies it so companies can use it to develop apps and services for fleets, smart cities and individual customers. The platform also enables GDPR, CCPA and other privacy regulation-compliant solutions using both personal and aggregate data.
Urgently meanwhile has a smaller but more focused scope: it provides technology to help connect car owners with roadside assistance services.
One of these businesses is currently significantly bigger than the other. Urgently estimates that 2022 revenue was more than $185 million, up 25% versus 2021. Otonomo is due to report Q4 and full-year earnings on February 15 but last quarter the company posted just $2 million in revenue and noted that ARR in that quarter was $6.7 million. That speaks to the struggles it has had in the market to realize the potential it’s promised to deliver.
The company, when merged, will have operations in 26 countries and have some 100 partnership deals with OEMs, transportation and mapping, insurance, fleet and rental sectors, it said. In total that will cover 70 million vehicles and over 80,000 estimated connected assistance service professionals. It will also have 36 registered and pending patents.
But notwithstanding the fact that this coverage does not directly translate to monetizeable services, it’s also quite small. The companies say that the total addressable market today for connected vehicle technology is 1.7 billion connected vehicles in the next decade, a $100 billion market.
The idea is that bringing forces together creates a more compelling, larger offering to the market and more routes to capturing business within it.
“This transaction enables us to transform the current reactive roadside experience and deliver on the promise of connected mobility,” said Matt Booth, CEO of Urgently, in a statement. “The addition of Otonomo’s mobility data uniquely positions Urgently to capitalize on the connections between vehicle data and the fleet, insurance and roadside assistance sectors to provide real-world services that will improve customer experiences and safety.”
”Merging Otonomo and Urgently is an exciting step for Otonomo that advances our vision of empowering the future of mobility and connected services,” added Ben Volkow, CEO and co-founder of Otonomo. “Mobility assistance is a real-world application for connected vehicle data and, by combining both companies’ technologies, we will provide new solutions for the betterment of customer safety, security and accessibility.”
Post-deal, Matt Booth will continue to be CEO with Tim Huffmyer will be CFO of the combined company. Ben Volkow will join the board and be an advisor.