Change of gear for Clark­son’s Drive tribe as it ex­pands ser­vice

The Sunday Telegraph - Money & Business - - Business - By Olivia Rudgard in San Fran­cisco

THE strug­gling so­cial net­work founded by Jeremy Clark­son and other for­mer Top Gear pre­sen­ters is ex­pand­ing into in­sur­ance and re­pair ser­vices af­ter rack­ing up steep losses.

Driv­etribe plans to alert mem­bers who have a ser­vice or in­sur­ance re­newal due, and di­rect them to com­pa­nies who can pro­vide this ser­vice.

It plans to tap data gath­ered from a fea­ture called My­garage, launched ear­lier this year, which al­lows users to list in­for­ma­tion about the cars that they own and cars they want to own.

Driv­etribe was launched two years ago by Jeremy Clark­son, Richard Ham­mond and James May, the for­mer Top

Gear pre­sen­ters, as an on­line com­mu­nity for car lovers.

Ahead of its launch it re­ceived $6.5m (£5m) in fund­ing from 21st Cen­tury Fox and $5.5m from in­vestors in­clud­ing pri­vate eq­uity firm Breyer Cap­i­tal, led by Jim Breyer, one of the first in­vestors in Face­book.

In Au­gust fil­ings on Com­pa­nies House re­vealed that the com­pany had lost £12.5m in its first two years.

Driv­etribe would of­fer mem­bers deals from their com­mer­cial part­ners based on the car own­er­ship data they have pro­vided, and would take a cut of any trans­ac­tions made through the site.

It also has plans to col­lect more de­tailed user data beyond ques­tion­naires and feed­back, in­clud­ing in­for­ma­tion col­lected while a per­son is driving.

It is con­sid­er­ing part­ner­ships with car man­u­fac­tur­ers that col­lect in-car data from driv­ers, such as their lo­ca­tion and driving habits.

Among projects planned for the next year is a sen­ti­ment anal­y­sis pro­gramme, which will use wear­able tech­nol­ogy such as Fit­bits and Ap­ple Watches to mea­sure how sub­scribers feel while driving their cars, in an ef­fort to make driving “health­ier”.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Jonathan Mor­ris said the com­pany also plans to part­ner with car-shar­ing com­pa­nies that al­low users to rent out their own ve­hi­cles. The ser­vices, while pop­u­lar in the US, have so far strug­gled to gain a foothold in the UK.

For­mer ‘Top Gear’ pre­sen­ters Richard Ham­mond and James May cel­e­brate the first year of trad­ing for Driv­etribe, the car-fo­cused so­cial net­work they founded with Jeremy Clark­son

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