A Manchester-headquartered tech firm is aiming to become the global leader in connected car data.

Wejo processes 16 billion data points from 11 million vehicles a day and has a heavy presence in the US.

Earlier this year Wejo announced a high-profile deal with Virtuoso Acquisition Corp to go public through a reverse merger that valued Wejo at $800m, with analysts tipping it to achieve unicorn status in the near future.

CEO Richard Barlow founded the business in 2014, inspired by his passion for motor racing and Formula 1 – where data is routinely collected to improve performance.

He realised if the connected data technology in motor racing could transition into the mainstream automotive sector he would have a business.

“The majority of new cars sold in the world – and most people don’t know this – have telemetry in the car,” he explains in an interview with our sister publication TechBlast.

“Your average car has 200 sensors now. The motor manufacturers don’t have a platform to send the data to and that’s where Wejo comes in.

“We built a platform and now an average of 11m vehicles send us live data every day. We see 7% of all vehicles moving around New York and 20% of all vehicles around Detroit in near real-time.

“Subject to consent, we know the radio station being listened to. We know the temperature of the engine. We know the suspension data.”

The game-changing moment came in 2018 when General Motors took a 35% stake in Wejo.

“The General Motors deal was such a key milestone for us,” says Barlow. “GM invested $25m in but the really important thing is they’re still the largest provider of cars with connectivity built-in.

“It was a real turning point and now we work with 17 OEMs and tier one brands.”

A few months ago Wejo announced significant partnerships with Microsoft, Palantir and Sompo Holdings – and Barlow is forecasting  the company will be profitable by early 2024.

“By 2030 there will be 600m cars that need connectivity,” he said. “Our plan is to be the leading global platform that takes all the live data from all vehicles. The opportunities are enormous.”

Read the full story about Barlow’s prodigious communication rota with staff, the importance of heavyweight hires and remaining honest with investors on TechBlast.

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