Vinli raises $6.5 million to provide in-car apps

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Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 presetVinli has announced $6.5 million in Series A funding for further production of its sensor that plugs into a car’s OBD port, allowing drivers access to apps on their smartphone. This would allow for additional functions that are not currently available in the vehicle.

Vinli promises to bridge the gap between the smartphone and the car. The company has already received significant backing from Samsung Global Innovation Center, which led the funding round with participation from Continental ITS, Cox Automotive, and the Westly Group. Vinli will gain access to a diverse range of resources and expertise. Cox Automotive offers direct contact with a number of car dealers in addition to Continental’s presence as a world-leading automotive supplier.

Mark Haidar, Vinli’s co-founder and CEO, said that support from these investors would help the company reach its aim of being embedded in the car. He pointed out that unlike rivals Apple and Google, Samsung does not presently have an in-vehicle system.

“Vinli is focused on bringing the most personalized, best driving experience possible to modern drivers, one that enables smooth connectivity to their favorite apps,” said Luis Arbulu, Director of Strategic Investments at Samsung Global Innovation Center. “We are excited about Vinli’s innovative technology and look forward to welcoming the team to the Samsung family.”

The OBD II port, which has been present in most cars for around two decades, provides the interface for Vinli’s sensor. The smartphone then connects to the device via Bluetooth. It presents a suite of apps to the driver; so far, Vinli has 1,000 developers building apps for the system. Vinli expects to launch in August with 20 apps and 120 in development.

The company is currently in the manufacturing stage, with shipping expected to begin in August. Pre-orders are now available, with the basic device costing around $50. However, it seems that Vinli will drop the basic device going forward in favour of one standard price that includes all of the available features. Those who have previously pre-ordered can be upgraded to the higher spec kit for free.

T-Mobile will be providing the wireless connectivity for the Vinli device.

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