Bri­tish car data firm Wejo ex­pands with US takeover

The Sunday Telegraph - Money & Business - - Business - By James Tit­comb in San Fran­cisco

A CHESHIRE-BASED data com­pany hop­ing to profit from the boom in in­ter­net-con­nected cars has bought a Sil­i­con Val­ley start-up in a rare case of an Amer­i­can tech firm be­ing poached by a Bri­tish one.

Wejo, which al­lows car man­u­fac­tur­ers to sell data gen­er­ated by their ve­hi­cles to in­sur­ers and trans­port au­thor­i­ties, is pay­ing sev­eral mil­lion dol­lars for Car­jojo, a web­site that ne­go­ti­ates car pur­chases on buy­ers’ be­half.

The Bri­tish com­pany hopes the deal will ac­cel­er­ate its push into con­nected cars, a mar­ket pre­dicted to be worth more than $30bn (£23bn) by 2025.

Wejo op­er­ates an on­line ex­change that lets car man­u­fac­tur­ers sell data from their ve­hi­cles. This lets break­down and in­sur­ance com­pa­nies mon­i­tor for faults and an­a­lyse col­li­sions.

The data can also be used by “smart city” op­er­a­tors to mon­i­tor traf­fic and air qual­ity, while cam­era in­for­ma­tion could be used by tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies to de­velop self-driv­ing sys­tems. About 7m cars are tied into the ser­vice, which cover around 10bn miles a month, said Richard Bar­low, Wejo’s chief ex­ec­u­tive.

He said buy­ing Car­jojo, which is in­creas­ingly used by Amer­i­can con­sumers to buy new cars, would get more ve­hi­cles on to its ex­change.

Wejo, which has raised about £25m from a hand­ful of un­named in­vestors, is chaired by Tim Lee, the for­mer head of Gen­eral Mo­tors in China.

New cars are be­ing packed with sen­sors, pro­ces­sors and cam­eras as they are con­nected to the in­ter­net. Ac­cord­ing to an­a­lysts at Frost & Sul­li­van, each car could gen­er­ate data worth be­tween $25 and $40 a year.

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