Springworks, the innovate Swedish motor technology company behind the Spark SaaS system that turns any car into a ‘smart car’ has been acquired by UK company Tantalum in a deal thought to be worth around £14 million. If you spend the time in your old banger enviously gazing out of the window at the latest technology in the world of smart and connected vehicles, fear not.
Springwork’s Spark system provides a plug-in compatible with most vehicles built from 2001 onwards, instantly converting your vehicle into a smart, connected car. Spark provides a range of smart car functionalities such as an in-vehicle wifi hotspot, online parking payment at the click of a button, battery warnings, tyre check notification and more.
Springwork’s Spark SaaS (software as a service) platform has enjoyed rapid growth over the last couple of years on the back of partnerships with major telecommunications companies around Europe. Nordic telecom Telia and Switzerland’s Swisscom are already offering Spark to their customers as a white label product and the company believes the entire European car market of 258 million vehicles is their potential customer base. The service also allows licensing telecoms to partner with local service providers such as garages that offer services and tyre changes.
As a white label product, telecoms companies license Spark from Springworks and are then able to either sell it to their customers as an add-on to their telecoms package, or even offer it as a bonus. A device is plugged in to a standard car’s diagnostics port, upgrading its technology to the equivalent of a modern ‘connected’ vehicle. Users benefit from a range of smart functionalities and the telecoms vendor of the white label additionally benefits by receiving valuable, anonymous, data on the vehicle’s technical status and journeys which is sent to the cloud. This data can also be used by Spark end-users to secure improved insurance terms if the systems data indicates they are a safer than average driver.
Springworks’ buyer, Tantalum, is a UK-based company that offers a suite of IoT software for cars that has a significant amount of overlap with the Spark product and has been developed in collaboration with Samsung and U.S. telecoms giant AT&T. Tantalum’s majority shareholder is Disruptive Capital, the private equity fund of Edmund (Edi) Truell, a renowned financier. Disruptive Capital is specialised in investing in the latest technology in the world.