CAMBRIDGE, MA– Cambridge Mobile Telematics (CMT), a leading mobile telematics and analytics provider, has secured a $500 million investment from the SoftBank Vision Fund, the company said in a statement.

Hari Balakrishnan is co-founder, chairman and chief technology officer of Cambridge Mobile Telematics, known as CMT. He led the MIT CarTel project with Sam Madden, developing several award-winning papers and technologies that were the academic origins of Cambridge Mobile Telematics. He is also the Fujitsu Professor of Computer Science at MIT and a Director of Wireless@MIT.

Before CMT, he co-founded StreamBase (acquired by TIBCO), was a founding advisor to Meraki (acquired by Cisco), and contributed to Sandburst (acquired by Broadcom), all MIT spin-offs. Mr. Balakrishnan was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2015, according to his official bio.

CMT said this investment of $500 million will accelerate the adoption of CMT’s successful DriveWell platform used by insurers, fleets, wireless carriers, and other entities to measure driving risk and improve driver safety. It will also fuel CMT’s growth in automated crash and claims management, video analytics, and safety for emerging vehicle and mobility systems. The investment is subject to regulatory approval.

Akshay Naheta (Photo: Linkedin)

“CMT is breaking new ground in the application of telematics, machine learning, and behavioral analytics to solve challenging problems in insurance and safety,” said Akshay Naheta, Partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers. “CMT is uniquely positioned to help insurers develop the insights to better support customers and advance their operations, while promoting long-term improvements in driving standards around the world.”

“Over the past few years, the DriveWell platform has helped make roads safer by making drivers better in a world where crashes are rising due to factors like distracted driving,” said Hari Balakrishnan, CMT’s Chairman and CTO, who founded CMT with Bill Powers (CEO) and Sam Madden (Chief Scientist). “Our rapid growth has been fueled by a culture that values collaboration with our customers and invests in research to improve our solutions and develop new products. This partnership with the Vision Fund is the start of the next stage of our journey to bring safe mobility solutions for people and goods at massive scale.”

CMT has pioneered many innovations since its inception, in 2010, from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab. CMT deployed the first service to efficiently gather and process sensory data from phones for auto insurance (2012), use phone sensors to measure phone distraction (2013), and induce better driving with gamification (2014). Together, these innovations created the category of “behavior-based insurance”, also known as “mobile usage-based insurance”. Results from the field are compelling: the driving feedback, rewards, and contests delivered via the DriveWell platform reduce phone distraction by 35% on average with 30 days, and at-risk speeding and hard braking by 20%. These improvements lead to significant measurable reductions in crashes and insurance claims.

CMT’s DriveWell Tag, invented in 2014, was the first fully wireless “Internet of Things” (IoT) device to measure vehicle dynamics for actuarial scoring and for real-time impact alerts with roadside assistance; in 2018, CMT shipped its 6 millionth Tag. Since 2016, CMT has introduced new services for crash reconstruction and loss notification with telematics data, dashcam video analytics for risk scoring, fleet features for commercial insurance, and best-in-class risk scoring models. These models enable insurers to accurately price risk using telematics data and have been approved by several regulators.

CMT’s progress has been widely recognized by many independent experts. In October, CMT was named the market leader in mobile usage-based insurance by Ptolemus, a research firm focused on connected mobility and IoT. In June, DriveWell was named the Best Auto Digital Insurance Product by TU-Automotive Detroit. CMT’s insurance technology solutions have also won multiple awards from Celent, Gartner, and Digital Insurance.

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