Minibar Meetup is a monthly get-together aimed at internet professionals who want to foster more face to face connections with entrepreneurs and investors. These meetups focus on recent industry developments within the tech space and offer a forum through which to have an open dialogue. On this occasion, the organisers Christian Jakenfelds and Matthew Stafford hosted the event at the new Publicis building near Baker Street and it was certainly well-attended.
This time, the topic of interest was Connected Cars and how the tech and automotive industries are collaborating to make driving a more integrated activity. Speakers were; Nick Black (Co-founder, CloudMade), Navid Ostadian Binal (Managing Director, Cogniance EMEA), Christina Onesirosan Martinez (Head of Marketing, Parkopedia), Drummond Gilbert (Founder, GoCarShare) and Carlos de Pommes (Director, Nebula Systems).
A key theme that ran through the presentations was the need to continually cater to Millennials as a core consumer base. Millennials expect to be connected wherever they go, and since the group will make up half of all car buyers in 2020, the above mentioned start-ups are making waves in pushing the connected cars industry closer to ultimate convenience.
For example, the sharing economy makes way for significant opportunities for start-ups like GoCarShare. The company’s Founder, Drummond Gilbert, told us how he saw a gap in the market for an easy car sharing service, where individuals can find or offer rides for a certain price. The business model is similar to that of AirBnb and was largely established in order to fulfil the demand for lifts to and from music festivals such as Glastonbury and Reading. The service also acts as a way in which to meet new people whilst travelling at a low cost.
Nick Black from CloudMade highlighted the importance in understanding how the economy has changed in this new generation. Namely, from; owning to streaming music, buying to borrowing homes and owning to renting cars.Therefore, start-ups need to be adaptable in order to cater to these changing ways of thinking about the world. CloudMade offer solutions to make cars more connected to their users via predictive learning technology as well as combining multiple types of geodata from social networking services to places of interest in the local area.
Coming from a vehicle diagnostics background, Andrew Steer of Nebula Systems explained to us about the company’s cutting-edge technology and how its capabilities far surpass those that have been developed through other telematics offerings. Andrew and the team envision that Nebula Systems’ MECH5 technology will be used as a mainstay of the Connected Cars offering. This links nicely with what Nick Black was saying about appealing to the Millennial mindset – having greater convenience all in one location.
Many thanks to the organisers of the event and to the speakers who provided much food for thought.