The number of challenges existing in the automotive industry is numerous, and they are present in multiple aspects of the sector. As the world is getting more interconnected than ever before, LinkedCar— an innovative start-up creating a world-class Connected Mobility platform—bridges the connection between cars, their drivers and everyone associated. According to Mario Schraepen, Founder & Chief Believer of LinkedCar, 53 percent of customers who purchase a vehicle from a franchise dealership do not return for service during the fourth year. For an average dealer who sells 1200 vehicles per year, this means a loss of over 400000 euros. Meanwhile, for the customer, it’s a hassle to maintain every component of a car, and every aspect of the car is managed by different entities, giving the driver unnecessary concerns, paperwork and no control over their own data.
Inception and Innovation
LinkedCar started in 2019, when they were selected by the biggest accelerator in Belgium, start it @KBC. The idea was pretty clear from the start—one centralized database for all vehicle related information which could serve the entire mobility ecosystem. A state-of-the-art IoT device was needed to make every vehicle connected and to fully control the data that is being captured. Artificial Intelligence is a key-element in this, and the partnerships with Microsoft and Salesforce are crucial for running a top-notch platform.
LinkedCar’s connected Mobility Platform brings everyone in the automotive sector closer to the customer. Not only to show real-time data of the connected car but to share and monetize this data. The platform unites data from dealers, manufacturers, insurers, fleets, and even live data from connected vehicles. “You get a 360° overview from your customer, including GDPR consents, quotes, or social media conversations. With our multi-brand connected car app for consumers and our driver-first mentality, we focus on loyalty,” adds Schraepen.
LinkedCar’s team believes that every driver should be in full control of their automobile data. The solution puts the driver in the middle of the automotive ecosystem to provide all other partners a chance to connect to not just the vehicle but also the driver controlling it. LinkedCar brings every element of the automotive ecosystem together, bundling the entire car management in one easy-to-use app for the consumer and an efficient, connected platform for the other partners. It provides the customer, dealer, insurer, and every other ecosystem partner access to a wide range of data, while the driver stays in control. With a strong base of trusted Salesforce technology, LinkedCars’ Connected Mobility platform aims to empower the dealers in their sales and after-sales activities as the platform makes the communication simpler, automated, and personalized.
The Heart of the Solution
The company’s Connected Mobility Platform helps dealers in providing more than just a car to customers. The platform plays a critical role in retaining customers. The first thing that the platform will enable is efficiency by providing a consolidated view of different data-sources including connected car-data so the dealer can react pro-actively and make a real difference for the customer. The data is collected by a Blackbox device, developed by LinkedCar in cooperation with Karel De Grote Hogeschool (academic and research institution in Belgium). The device can collect and read the data from any car (manufactured after 2000) and does not make a distinction between make or model. As a result, the driver gets the opportunity to manage data of all their connected vehicles including connected e-bikes with one unified platform. “Our platform integrates data from different sources. This data is then matched with live car data. As a result, anybody interested can set up an incentivized loyalty program. This not just makes customers more loyal but also increases efficiency for the ecosystem partners as they only need one platform/system for their entire fleet of cars, no matter their model or stage,” explains Schraepen.
It’s surprising that many car dealers still manage their entire company with excel spreadsheets, or even worse on paper. Schraepen recalls an instance when the team connected 10 different systems for 1 specific customer. The client was surprised by the wealth of data that is already available, but no one has put the pieces together before.
Mission and Vision
Today, LinkedCar is on a mission to connect the mobility ecosystem, which moves us all to a data driven future. This way they envision to improve not only the services of different stakeholders, but also the experience of the driver. “Where we connect data from cars and e-bikes today, we aim to be a fully-fledged connected mobility platform tomorrow for every vehicle. Our vision is a data driven mobility ecosystem where drivers have access and control over their own data and all partners are connected with each other,” he adds.
LinkedCar is not about a product, it’s more about getting everybody on board a fast-changing and extremely connected journey known as the future. “We also believe that it’s time for a change in the automotive industry. Our ambition is to be the global driver of change in customer loyalty for the automotive industry and to make everything that moves and has a battery, connected,” adds Schraepen.
Though Corona slowed down the company’s development in 2020, the team kept innovating their platform. At the end of 2020 LinkedCar received a grant of 50K from the province Limburg and received an award for being one of the top 10 companies in Europe that are at the forefront of providing Automotive technology solutions and transforming business. However, 2021 started beautifully for the Linkedcar team, they entered into a solid partnership with Karel de Grote Hogeschool (KdG) of Antwerp, one of the most prestigious colleges in Belgium. With the integration of the academic world LinkedCar will be able to finetune the automatic vehicle decoding algorithm into understandable and usable data for everyone.
Expanding the Reach
Under the leadership of Mario Schraepen—a serial entrepreneur LinkedCar is driving innovation and raising the bars for their internal quality standards. Over the years, he has built a valuable, amazing network which makes it easy to approach companies at C-level. Today it is his infectious passion and energy to boost his team, that’s making LinkedCar a game-changer in the mobility industry.
Looking ahead, LinkedCar is investigating the possibilities of Augmented Reality (AR) with a standard smartphone. This will allow people to virtually place a new car in their own garage before visiting a dealership. There is always room to grow and improve. Thanks to this mindset, the enthusiastic team of LinkedCar found out that there was an extra market that could benefit from their innovative IoT device: e-bikes. “We can easily read and decode the CANBUS information from a bike. There’s only 1 downside of being so innovative … We probably need to change our company name, as we do today more than just cars,” concludes Schraepen.
Chief Believer : Mario Schraepen
An innovative start-up connecting powered vehicles (cars, e-bikes, …) with the mobility ecosystem (insurance, dealers, lease, roadside assistance…) via an AI driven blackbox. Their connected mobility platform is based on trusted Salesforce technology and drives new monetization models.