Steven Sinofsky is joining the board of car sharing technology startup Local Motion.
Venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (AH) is investing $US6 million in Local Motion. Sinofsky recently joined Andreessen Horowitz.
We spoke with Local Motion co-founder Clement Gires about his company, and Sinofsky.
Gires and his co-founder John Stanfield were building their own electric car at Stanford. During the process, they realised they would be better off with the software they built to power the car.
They created a small box that goes inside fleets of cars. The box then tracks the car and allows it to be unlocked by multiple users. This way, cars are used more efficiently.
Gires explained it over the phone by saying a city might have 3,000 cars for various departments. Today, that means 3,000 keys for 3,000 people. But, those cars aren’t always being used simultaneously. His vision is that anyone of the 3,000 people can use anyone of the 3,000 cars.
In this way, the municipality will eventually be able to buy few cars since people will be able to share the cars. When someone unlocks the car, either through Bluetooth or swipe card, their actions/mileage in the car is tracked, so if they wreck it, the city knows who did it.
This technology could be used for rental car companies, corporations, or even homes that have multiple drivers.
“Our speciality is car sharing technology,” says Gires. His vision is that “in future people will not buy cars, they will buy mobility.” In other words, you could do a bike-share like program for people in dense urban areas.
Sinfosky raved about their software over the phone. “It’s like using consumer software, and yet it’s aimed for businesses.”
This is Sinfosky’s first big deal for Andreessen Horowitz. He said it lines up with things he’s interested in, and things he’s seen living in urban areas. When the firm was trying to figure out who would be on Local Motion’s board, Sinofsky says he basically said, “Ooh! Me! Me! Me!”
Previously, Sinofsky was at Microsoft. He led the development of Windows, and was seen as the CEO-in-waiting until he was forced out of the company last fall.
Amusingly, Gires says he hasn’t used Windows 8, Sinfosky’s last major project for Microsoft. And he also says he doesn’t use Windows-based computers.
Still, he’s thrilled to have Sinofsky on the board because, “He helped build one the largest software companies in the world,” and now he’s “working on the sharing economy.”
Software is key for Local Motion. While the rental/fleet market might not be the typical gigantic market a VC firm attacks, Sinofsky points out that the software can (and likely will) evolve to be in all cars, which is a huge, untapped market for technology companies.