News Article

MIT-born auto tech firm raises $100M from J.P. Morgan, Qualcomm
Date: Feb 01, 2017
Author: Kelly J. O'Brien
Source: bizjournals ( click here to go to the source)

Featured firm in this article: ClearMotion Inc of Billerica, MA

Levant Power was founded by a trio of MIT students in 2008 with the idea of building shock absorbers that turn a car's usual bumping and bouncing into useful electrical energy.

In 2010, the company started working with the U.S. Army, and in 2011 it moved its 15 employees to a 15,000-square-foot office in Woburn. Then, as far as the press and wider public was concerned, the company pretty much disappeared. Until today.

On Wednesday, the company, which now calls itself ClearMotion Inc., said it raised $100 million in Series C funding led by "clients advised by J.P. Morgan Asset Management." New Enterprise Associates, Qualcomm Ventures, World Innovation Lab, and Eileses Capital also participated in the latest round of funding. J.P. Morgan Asset Management managing director Jonathan Ross will join ClearMotion's board of directors.

The company now has 115 employees, according to Bloomberg, and an outdated Glassdoor page for Levant Power lists the company's revenue as in the range of $100 million to $500 million annually. The ClearMotion website contains nine job openings in a "Boston headquarters" and another six in a "Boston Area HQ." There is also a San Francisco job opening.

ClearMotion did not immediately return requests for comment.

ClearMotion's message has changed slightly from Levant Power's. The company now emphasizes it's "digital chassis" -- software-enabled actuators that sense and respond to road conditions in real time, make car rides much smoother for the rider. The idea seems to be to create the in-car experience that will make it actually pleasant to spend long amounts of time working or hanging out in future autonomous vehicles.

"Innovation in the car business is ramping dramatically, and we see an opportunity to make our mark upon it," said Shakeel Avadhany, CEO and co-founder of ClearMotion, in a statement. "Self-driving functionality mandates a future in which cars afford not just driving pleasure, but the utility of a mobile office. We are focused about the quality of time in autos and how we transform it by digitizing our relationship to the road, allowing software to control the dynamics of the car."

Avadhany founded Levant Power with COO Zack Anderson and vice president of sales and marketing Vladimir Tarasov.

ClearMotion said it has now raised $130 million in total.