Nexar Raises $53 Million Series D to Expand Car Dashcams

By Robert Wren Gordon, Published Jan 12, 2022, 10:59am EST (Info+)

Israel-based Nexar raised $53 million to help expand its dashcam business into both the international and US fleet markets.

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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.

Background

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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.

Nexar also has a division, Nexar Data, which pulls anonymized images from Nexar dashcams into its CityStream platform, which is marketed to city planners and authorities who monitor road conditions.

Funding

Nexar raised a $53 million Series D in November 2021 led by Qumra Capital, a Tel Aviv, Israel-based firm that supports late-stage Israeli technology companies:

[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.

Product: Dashcams

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.

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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.

Product: Data

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.

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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.

Competitors

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.

IPVM estimates that Blackvue, Garmin, and Vantrue are Nexar's main competitors in the US consumer dashcam market.

Pricing

IPVM ImageNexar's dash cams start at $99.95, with its newest Nexar One model selling for $400+ depending on memory and other options.

Nexar told IPVM that while it primarily sells direct-to-consumer through its getnexar.com website, the Israel company also sells on Amazon.

Customers

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.

Employees

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:

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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.

Co-Founders

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Nexar was co-founded by Dr. Eran Shir, from Israel, and Bruno Fernandez-Ruiz, an MIT graduate from Spain.

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]

IPVM asked the company to substantiate its "leading" brand claim, with Nexar's VP of Marketing, Roni Floman, responding that the claim is based on market research data from The NPD Group:

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.

IPVM ImageRandall 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.

Fleet Integration

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.

International Expansion

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.

Comments (8)

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I’ve personally tested about three dozen dash cams, and the Nexar Beam is the brand/model I chose to keep in my vehicle permanently. The main reason I opted to keep this camera was primarily influenced by recorded video accessibility and recorded image quality.

Most recently, I had my vehicle in for an oil change (still in-warranty, and I like having the oil changes recorded to my VIN history). The dash cam was recording to it’s local micro SD only due to the fact that my phone was not within proximity. When I finally got my vehicle back from the dealer, my Nexar Beam automatically uploaded the video that was recorded when the vehicle was out of my possession, at which time I discovered that someone decided to take a joy ride in my heavily modified (supercharger added) vehicle. Needless to say, I used the video as evidence with my dealership accordingly… But the fact remains, any other dash cam would not have told me such an event took place. The gyro sensor detected adverse driving, flagged the video as an event, and once it was uploaded to my phone within 30 seconds of getting in my vehicle, I knew the event had taken place. Up to the point I had tested other dash cam brands/models, no other brand had this ability.

The two main downsides I found…

One, YEAR/MM/DD - According to their tech support, Nexar has no way of changing this calendar format in their firmware for US-based customers. Personally, as someone who has worked for a communist party manufacturer, I think that says a lot. When you’re an organization the size of Nexar, and you can’t get your OEM chip manufacturer to change the firmware around to reconfigure the day/time stamp overlaid on top of the video, you have a problem.

Two, I have a real problem with Nexar CityStream. Essentially the way Nexar’s cloud function works, your camera is always locally recording to the local microSD. So long as it is connected to a phone, it is uploading and using an allocated amount of space on your phone which you can configure as appropriate, then when your phone connects to a reliable Wi-Fi connection, it uploads to their cloud where CityStream selectively extracts video they deem relevant. But when you ask what happens to the other video they don’t deem relevant, they don’t have a good answer. Maybe I don’t want video from the inside of my garage or my video from within my property being uploaded to your cloud service. This is an attribute of the product you cannot disable, and the only way I have found it possible to throttle this is to delete my drive from my phone the moment I shut my vehicle off. I don’t have anything to hide, I just don’t need anyone to see in and around my property.

So really, other than item number two above, I don’t have a lot of bad things to say about this product… I find it so user-friendly that the number two caveat is easy to overlook, particularly when comparing this product to other comps on the market, it is heads and tails above the others.

Highly recommended.

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Great feedback there, their pricing is really compelling!

After Nexar who would be next on your recommended list?

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Runner-up is BlackVue…

Of note, BlackVue offers some really slick multi-channel expansion options, allowing you to tie multiple cameras in one vehicle together for multiple views.

INNOVATION IDEA: In my opinion… You get a manufacturer who can hack tie into the cameras that are integrated into vehicles from the factory, and you’ve really cracked the nut. Hard proposition given the amount of customization needed vehicle to vehicle, but when you consider most new vehicle black boxes have a ring buffer recording factory-installed cameras and saving that video when an accident occurs, it IS possible, and honestly after tearing down the ECU wiring in a new Toyota truck recently, I KNOW there are feeds going in and out one can T-tap to intercept that video— I’ve also found the same recently in a new Jeep, as well as a newer Nissan.

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This is great to see for them but they missed their release of the latest Dash Cam. It was sold in the holiday season with a Jan delivery date and then they advised that it may be some time in march for delivery. No updates since the initial email. Hopefully the supply chain issues do not hurt the product expansion as others in the market are at their heels.

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I also tested many dashcams and settled on BlackVue for a long time. The overheated cameras piled up quickly. After accumulating a small box of useless BlackVue cameras, I switched to ThinkWare.

I've had no issues with ThinkWare in almost three years of use. They're very relaible.

I'll have to look at Nexar.

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Most popular in the US? How come I've never heard of them?

If they support Onvif or offer direct integration support and can merge into the B2B world, I'd be more excited about their future. It seems this is a singular gadget of sorts, and therefore I don't see the investment paying off in the long run.

There may be a great market opportunity for the high-tech insurance startup, Lemonade, to partner with this org around the accident re-creation tech, perhaps?

My opinion is that dashcams and vehicle cams will become heavily incorporated into vehicles much more so than they are today, and the first commercial camera manufacturer to offer an open-architecture purpose-built option (not just a regular IP cam) will be opening a market that's currently not being addressed for busses, semi's, and other fleet's.

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Where today’s conventional CCTV manufacturers are missing the mark is on the appliance side. No one wants this big black box you have to hide… No one wants the service, no one wants or expects the cost, it’s a lot like what the consumer grade CCTV industry has become for home and small businesses, we just expect less bulk. Look at March Networks’ mobile solutions… frankly the best, but, they are bloody enormous, ridiculously expensive, and overly complicated.

Today’s CCTV camera manufacturers need to do a better job of honing and dialing-in their local camera firmware in order for them to be suitable for mobile applications. That’s the thing, if you had a Hanwha or Axis camera with a reasonably good local UI on the camera, you could deploy a fixed mounted standalone camera in a vehicle and get away with it. Reality though with today’s firmware, it would suck. End-users expect gyros, speed sensors, dry contact inputs and so on, and today’s CCTV manufacturers seem to think that this subsequently requires this big black box full of hard drives and I/Os, yet here we are surrounded with these tiny commoditized mobile cameras that do all of the above without all of the added complexity and bulk. Some would argue that the ability to multiplex several channels of video in one place is another reason why you need a large black box, but as aforementioned above, companies like BlackVue can do it.

I’m going to say it, Honovich is going to love it… if you could get something like a 12VDC Verkada camera with localized recording, a simple LTE or better gateway for cloud recording and streaming on-demand, with the ability to upload video when in proximity of wifi, and then add some simple mobile-centric features to that camera like speed, gyro, shock detection (most pro CCTV cameras have some of these already), a CCTV manufacturer could sell enough of these to justify their creation, and you’d be left with a really slick & slim professional-grade mobile solution… but these manufacturers just aren’t paying attention.

Think Axon body cameras… high margin, nice UI. You know they’re low profile enough for mobile vehicle applications, police are WEARING these cameras. How hard would it be to alter these for use in mobile vehicle applications? Emphasis on margin here… it’s worth it, the opportunities are there, from police and municipal, to bus, train, and delivery fleets. Instead, today’s CCTV leaders are more interested in me-too cameras— “I… have made a dual-sensor camera.” “Really, well I have done the same, but mine has IR.” “Really, well then mine is higher resolution and has IR.” YAWN.

Innovate. Take risks. Get camera tech out of the myopic rut it’s in.

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Honovich is going to love it… if you could get something like a 12VDC Verkada camera with localized recording

That's Verkada strongest technical use comparatively since they make it very easy to deploy at remote or hard to communicate areas, so no objection here.

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