Transportation-focused venture capital firm Autotech Ventures has added to its advisory board. Autotech Ventures launched its first $120 million fund focusing on investing in ground transportation startups and has made more than a dozen investments out of the first fund. Much attention in the venture capital community has been narrowly focused on autonomous vehicles, but Autotech Ventures has a wider lens. With Maryann Keller joining the advisory board, Autotech Ventures says it will now have additional firepower to invest in the multi-trillion-dollar vehicle retail, rental, financing and repair markets.
Keller has been an auto industry stalwart – covering the industry as an analyst from 1972 to 1999 on Wall Street and having been ranked as a top three analyst for 12 consecutive years. She was hailed by the New York Times as the first woman auto analyst, and was one of the first to note the rapid entry of Japanese automakers into the U.S. market. Keller has a reputation for not shying away from candid and sometimes sharp criticism of the U.S. automotive giants, which combined with her rigorous analysis generated tremendous respect in the industry. She wrote the books “Rude Awakening: The Rise, Fall and Struggle to Recover at General Motors” and “Collision: GM, Toyota, and Volkswagen and the Race to Own the 21st Century.”
“Autotech Ventures has created an impressive and thoughtful portfolio of startups that are already having a measurable impact on the automotive industry,” said Keller. “They have exposure to shared mobility with Lyft, advanced driver assistance with DeepScale, automotive e-commerce with Rollick and Frontier Car Group, connected cars with SpotHero and much more. The team clearly has deep expertise and connections in the sector when compared to other venture capitalist portfolios I’ve seen. I’m excited to join Autotech’s advisory board and to work closely with the investment team, portfolio companies and the corporate partners at the fund.”
“Maryann has always offered candid perspectives on the trends that affect the transport sector. The transport sector is currently approaching a critical juncture driven by connected, shared, autonomous and electric vehicles as well as new business models for retail and repair,” said Quin Garcia, Autotech Ventures managing director. “We’re looking forward to Maryann’s candid perspectives on how startups will affect the incumbent auto industry – both as risks and opportunities.”
Since leaving Wall Street, Keller presided over Priceline.com’s early attempt to facilitate online car sales, was an adviser to Manheim Auctions for more than 12 years and served on the boards of six public companies. She also is currently a director of AutoCanada and DriveTime Automotive. In addition, Keller led and advised the first IPO of a public auto retailer, Cross Country Auto Retailers, and had IPO advisory roles in Penske (UAG), Lithia, and Asbury. Keller continues to advise the automotive industry through her automotive strategy consulting firm, Maryann Keller & Associates.
Alexei Andreev, Autotech Ventures managing director, noted that “Maryann’s vast experience in automotive, extending from early stage companies to public markets will help support and accelerate our portfolio companies’ growth over their entire lifecycle. She will be especially helpful in helping our portfolio companies navigate corporations in automotive retail, rental, financing and repair.”
Maryann Keller joins Anthony Foxx, former U.S. Secretary of Transportation under President Obama 2013-’17, Alan Taub, University of Michigan professor and former GM and Ford executive and Byron Shaw, founder of both GM Ventures and BMW’s original Silicon Valley office, on Autotech Ventures’ advisory board. The board helps Autotech Ventures’ portfolio companies navigate the transportation ecosystem to scale quickly and effectively.
To learn more about Autotech Ventures’ portfolio, go to: autotechvc.com/portfolio/.