Nexar Raises $53 Million Series D to Expand Car Dashcams
Israel-based Nexar raised $53 million to help expand its dashcam business into both the international and US fleet markets.
Inside this report, IPVM profiles Nexar's business, including comments from the company about its newest camera model and the firm's goals for 2022.
Nexar was founded in 2015 by CEO Dr. Eran Shir and CTO Bruno Fernandez-Ruiz and sells smart (i.e. connected) dashcams and related accessories directly to customers, primarily through its online store.
[A] $53 million Series D funding round led by Qumra Capital with the participation of State Farm Ventures, Catalyst Investments, Banca Generali, Valor and previous backers; Atreides Management, Corner Ventures, Regah Ventures, Aleph and more.
November 2021 video from Nexar's YouTube channel announcing the fundraising:
Nexar has now raised $153 million, according to a post on the company's blog by Nexar CEO/co-founder CEO Dr. Shir.
No Revenue Disclosure
Nexar did not disclose its revenue or sales figures, simply stating that it is growing 280 percent YoY and that it "sells hundreds of thousands of dashcams annually":
Nexar is the leading dashcam consumer brand in the US, selling smart dash cams and growing 280% year over year. It has 165 employees, and sells hundreds of thousands of dashcams annually. We expect to continue the same growth trajectory this year, with an additional offering of Nexar One, our smartest connected dashcam with AI-inside, LTE, and 4K resolution.
IPVM estimates Nexar's revenue to be ~$30 million or higher given the above disclosure and the average price of Nexar's dashcams on its web store and Amazon. This revenue estimate would put the dashcam company's pre-money valuation in the $100-200 million range.
Nexar markets six dashcam models that record the road in 1080p or 4K. The company's smart cameras are capable of streaming to the customer's mobile device, with the video viewable through Nexar's Android and iOS apps. Nexar's cameras also have expandable local and free cloud backup.
Nexar told IPVM that its dash cams offer "visual evidence of driving," providing customers with emergency alerts and support in criminal proceedings, as well as with insurance claims:
Nexar's focus is visual evidence of driving, from the road with smart alerts coming from its connectivity features. Drivers can show law enforcement how they've driven, exonerate themselves, and our collision reconstruction insurance feature actually "understands" what every party on the road did. Nexar also helps you find where you parked your car, and supports tracking of a small fleet. Most importantly it can alert you if something happened to your parked car or send emergency alerts to your contacts, in case of a collision or other harsh driving event, so you can get assistance.
Through smartphone integration, Nexar seeks to expand upon the traditional dashcam, combining elements typically associated with a car alarm. In comments to IPVM, Nexar described its newest dashcam model, Nexar One (pictured, currently on pre-order and not yet available for purchase) as a "car security device":
Nexar One is about offering a dashcam as a car security device, protecting the car when the driver is both driving and away, and enabling the owner of the dashcam to track and get alerts from a fleet of Nexar Ones in fleet vehicles.
Nexar did not comment on its OEM partners, only noting that it designs its dashcams itself:
We design and sell our dashcams ourselves and use contract manufacturing.
Three of the six dashcams sold on Nexar's website, the SCOSCHE NEXC1 Dash Cam, the SCOSCHE NEXS1 Dash Cam, and the SCOSCHE NEXC2 Dash Cam, were made in partnership with California-based camera accessories company Scosche.
In addition to its dashcam business, Nexar also has a data arm called Nexar Data, which pulls anonymized images from Nexar dashcams into its CityStream platform (screenshot below). CityStream is primarily marketed to city planners and municipal/transportation authorities who monitor road conditions.
Nexar also has a Nexar Data insurance platform that is SaaS-based:
Our insurance offerings to insurance companies (collision reconstruction) are SaaS based.
While Nexar does not publicize its data business as much as it does its dashcam business, the company nonetheless mentioned that its data clients include city officials and car manufacturers in its Series D press release:
With this tool, city officials are able to plan, prioritize and fix issues at a much faster pace, while automotive companies are able to inform their autonomous vehicles of obstacles lying ahead.
Nexar Data also received attention in the company's blog post announcing its most recent funding, with CEO Dr. Shir claiming that only Tesla collects more data on US roads:
Today, we believe only Tesla is collecting more vision data from the US, and we see a clear opportunity to deploy Nexar’s eyes in millions of vehicles.
Nexar provided the following statement in response to IPVM's questions about Nexar Data:
Nexar's vision is to create a real-time map of the roads. We use images from dashcams (not videos) to detect road work zones, traffic sign changes, road defects, and more. For instance, we're used in the Las Vegas valley to detect work zones and road sign changes. When doing this, we protect privacy in a strict way, anonymizing faces and license plates to protect those in the car and around it.
Nexar did not directly name any competitors; however, the company did say that it views itself as "far closer" to Garmin when asked about competitors in the consumer car dashcam space:
Nexar is far closer to a company offering dashcams such as Garmin and many other companies selling consumer or fleet dashcams. It's different than an OBD device/app since it gets the same alerts (it has built-in GPS and sensors) but always can send/show the video evidence while companies with an app and OBD device show statistics and alerts with no visual evidence.
Nexar's dash cams start at $99.95, with its newest Nexar One model selling for $400+ depending on memory and other options.
Nexar sees itself as a B2C company, with end-users including various types of professional drivers:
Our consumer dashcams are mostly for consumers or prosumers, as well as ride-share drivers, taxi drivers, truckers, and technical craftspeople.
LinkedIn lists 109 employees, and Nexar said its total staff count is 165. Of Nexar's employees on LinkedIn, roughly 75 percent are based in Israel, with headcount remaining stagnant over the last two years:
IPVM asked Nexar about its flat headcount on LinkedIn, with the company implying that the LinkedIn headcount is not accurate, responding that it "has grown constantly":
We don't follow our numbers on LinkedIn closely but the company has grown constantly and is currently filling a couple dozen positions: https://www.getnexar.com/careers.
Nexar currently has 16 active job openings, all of which are remote.
Dr. Shir and Mr. Fernandez Ruiz come from academic backgrounds, with both having founded several companies prior to collaborating to launch Nexar.
"Leading" Camera Brand Claim Examined
Nexar frequently claims to be among the US's leading camera/dashcam brands. For example, in response to IPVM's request for comment, Nexar claimed:
Nexar is the leading dashcam consumer brand in the US [...]
Similarly, Dr. Shir wrote the following in his November blog post announcing Nexar's Series D:
Six years in, we have managed to build and bring to market cameras and services that help hundreds of thousands of drivers across the world, and became the leading consumer camera brand in the US. [emphasis added]
We used NPD data on dashcam sales and compared it to our actual sales numbers which come from getnexar.com where we sell our cams. (the online sales aren't counted by NPD according to their methodology). The result was that we sold more $50+ cameras (smart dash cams) than any other brand.
Nexar Cameras Rely on End-User's Active Cellphone Signal, Notifications Cannot Be Turned Off
There are numerous Nexar product reviews on YouTube, including the following video, "The Truth about owning a Nexar Beam - The Pros & Cons," by US-based automotive vlogger Metz Tech:
In the video, Metz Tech enumerates several cons of the Nexar Beam, which currently sells for $139.95 on Nexar's website. Among these cons, Metz Tech says that the dashcam is reliant upon the Wi-Fi and cellular data connections on the user's cellphone for recording (i.e., the Nexar dashcam connects to the user's cellphone and thereby accesses the Internet for cloud uploads), thus, if the end-user turns off Wi-Fi on their cellphone or is driving through an area with no cellular data coverage, the Nexar dashcam is unable to record to the cloud.
Nexar stated that this limitation has been fixed with the company's new Nexar One dashcam:
With regards to the vlogger's comments—our new Nexar One camera can stream video without an app, through a cellular connection.
Metz Tech also claims that Nexar cameras do not record unless the end-user has Nexar app notifications enabled on their cellphone (i.e., turning off or not enabling Nexar app notifications blocks the end-user from accessing drive recordings). Nexar told IPVM that addressing the notification issue is in its product roadmap without providing further comment:
As to the comments, we're working to improve this within our product roadmap.
Nexar Part of Blockbuster Year in Physical Security, Israeli Tech Funding
Nexar's $53 million Series D came in 2021, a blockbuster year for physical security fundraising which saw industry companies collectively raise at least $2.1 billion.
Randall Finke (pictured), who works closely with Israeli technology companies seeking US investment as the Head of Investment at the Israel Economic Mission to the West Coast in San Francisco, told IPVM that 2021 was similarly a lucrative year for Israeli technology companies with US operations like Nexar, noting that 2021 witnessed a greater amount of available capital, coupled with higher valuations than in previous years:
There was a lot more capital available, but also valuations were a lot higher last year, and that's driving funding rounds being way up. A lot of investors waited and made investments last year because maybe they didn't do so in 2020.
Nexar CEO Dr. Shir noted that being able to serve the needs of fleets was a driving idea behind his company's newest Nexar One dashcam in a recent company blog post:
Nexar One will also allow us to provide fleets with the benefits of the Nexar ecosystem of services with a tailored form factor that perfectly fits their needs.
Nexar told IPVM that it is planning to target fleets in 2022, using its Nexar One camera to, among other things, support driver training:
As our Nexar One offering will evolve we will also offer it to fleets, since it was designed to integrate with software offerings that support fleet operations. This camera will also be offered to fleets in 2022, offering driver protection and training through its ability to identify driving situations, record them, and also offer protection to a parked car, especially in cases where there is a chance of the goods in the car being stolen.
Coronavirus Impact: Miles Up
When asked about the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on its business, Nexar directed IPVM to a June 2020 company report showing a ~50% reduction in weekly miles driven across its US network during the initial months of the pandemic.
More recently, Nexar claims a ~20% jump in miles driven since July 2021:
In general, we see the overall miles driven going higher as we grow our network—we're currently at 160 million miles monthly, we used to be at 130 million miles monthly in July 2021.
While Nexar says that "most" of its sales are in the US, the company plans to expand its sales in Europe and Asia in 2022:
Currently, most of Nexar’s sales are in the US. However, we’ve begun selling in international markets, from the UK to Europe and Asia-Pacific. As 2022 progresses, we’ll invest more in international markets, some of which are even more receptive to dashcams than the US.
Currently, Nexar's web store is only available in English.