August 1, 2017

Entrepreneur Spotlight: Chris Heiser, Co-Founder & CEO of Renovo

What was the inspiration behind founding Renovo?

We recognized the major technological waves that were going to change the automotive industry forever and the need for more interoperable, modular, scalable and open vehicle software. Our team had extensive experience in developing technology for such ecosystems and saw the potential for change in the industry.

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How has the company evolved since you started it?

When Renovo was founded in 2010 the focus was on building a platform to support electrification and connectivity. We still believe that working at the limit of performance informs more mundane transportation technology. Our work with EV supercars was a way to push software, connection, data management, robustness, to new limits and by doing so we created broadly applicable software.

In 2013, the scope of the Renovo platform expanded to include automation and emerging vehicle ownership models, leading to a focus on AMoD (Automated Mobility on Demand) which we want to see brought to scale as quickly as possible.  In parallel, we built a partnership with Stanford that enabled us to test and refine our platform, using cutting edge automation research to push ourselves in terms of performance, reliability, and safety.

What is your vision for the future of autonomous vehicles - how will they fit into the Smart Cities of the future?

Three out of four people in the developed world live in cities. Personal transportation in these urban areas is ultimately judged based on convenience and cost.  Automated Mobility on Demand (AMoD)—fleets of fully automated vehicles as a service—is the optimal solution. It has the potential to reduce congestion, improve air quality and increase energy efficiency. This is a huge opportunity for all of us. Automation is the catalyst which unlocks the true potential of vehicle electrification and on demand mobility in Smart Cities of the future.

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In your experience, what’s the best way to work with investors?

Working with investors who share the vision for what we are trying to do as a company is crucial and it’s definitely been the case with Verizon Ventures – check out this blog post for more information. We always focus on tapping into investors’ unique experience and networks to find new opportunities.

What’s next for Renovo?

We’re focusing on bringing AMoD to scale as safely, quickly and efficiently as possible. To that effect, we are a California AVT permit holder and operating vehicles on the road. In the coming months we’ll be making some exciting announcements about ecosystem partners who share Renovo’s vision that interoperable and open is the best way to do this.


Tags: Daniel Chui , Connected Cars , Smart Cities , Entrepreneur Spotlight , Renovo
Chris Heiser, CEO, Renovo