By Mark Johnson
London AI startup Ravin.AI has just closed a $4 million funding round supported by investment from global energy giant Shell.
Ravin.AI, an autonomous platform using artificial intelligence to inspect vehicle condition, completed the seed round, led by PICO Venture Partners, with participation from Shell Ventures and automotive entrepreneur Adam Draizin.
Ravin was founded in 2018 and is based in London and Haifa, Israel.
The Company has commercial partners across the US and Europe, including Avis’ Heathrow Airport location, and will use the funding to further develop its technology products and to expand its commercial reach across North America, Europe and Asia.
The investment marks Shell Ventures’ first Israel investment.
Every five seconds, somewhere in the world, a car is damaged, causing over $100 billion in annual losses.
Almost $50 billion of these losses are spent by car owners and insurers on processing and overpaying for damages often caused by someone else.
Ravin uses computer vision and machine learning to detect and analyse vehicle damage with standard cameras and without the use of specialised hardware.
The Company’s patent-pending technology turns off-the-shelf cameras – CCTV types or mobile phone cameras – into advanced inspection tools, detecting more damage than humans can, while significantly reducing inspection costs.
“Ravin’s mission is to bring trust and transparency to the often stressful process of a car changing hands - whether it’s buying a used car or renting a car for the weekend,” said Ravin CEO Eliron Ekstein.
“Our first customers are already seeing the benefits of using our technology, and we look forward to rolling out additional partnerships over the next several months.”
Car rental companies using Ravin can offer their customers a seamless check-in experience through timely, automated damage detection.
This gives them the ability to document and charge customers more fairly, minimising disputes and optimising their fleet maintenance.
Ravin also helps used car buyers and dealers detect existing damage, enables vehicle manufacturers to identify defects in new cars, and allows insurance companies to process claims faster.
The technology analyses camera footage acquired through CCTV cameras or by a person scanning the vehicle with a mobile phone. It then creates a holistic 360-degree vehicle view with accurate damage detection.
Ravin’s self-learning platform operates like a professional inspector but performs better – analysing even previously unseen vehicles with increased accuracy.
Unlike many hardware-based solutions, Ravin’s unique technology can be deployed quickly for new vehicle types using minimal training data. It also doesn’t rely on human users to operate the system or ask them to capture specific images, which may be biased and inaccurate.
“We were drawn to Ravin’s outstanding team of business leaders and computer vision experts,” said Elie Wurtman, General Partner at PICO Venture Partners.
“Automating business processes in automotive retail and rental environments will generate incredible value for consumers and the industry, and we believe that the Ravin team is uniquely positioned to drive this change.”
Shell has backed Ravin since its inception through its New Energies Digital Businesses arm and participated in this round through Shell Ventures, its corporate VC arm.
“Shell is constantly looking to invest and incubate the best ideas to provide new services and added value to our customers,” said Shell New Energies VP for Digital Businesses Roger Hunter. “We will continue to seek opportunities to work with the team to bring Ravin AI to our network of customers.”
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