Key Stats: Epilog on SeedInvest
Number of Investors
|Likelihood of Max|
Epilog has been selected as a “Deal To Watch” by KingsCrowd. This distinction is reserved for deals selected into the top 10% of our deal diligence funnel. If you have questions regarding our deal diligence and selection methodology, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
It goes without saying that fallout from distracted driving or driving under the influence has significant social impact, not to mention economic cost. It is estimated that distracted driving costs Americans approximately $129 Billion per year. That is not to mention the impact these accidents have on those involved, both mentally and physically. These accidents also disproportionately affect young people; distracted driving accounts for 58% of teen crashes.
This is especially problematic as we become more and more dependent on technology, specifically cell phones, so much so that we find it hard to put them down, even when operating a motor vehicle. In fact, “people are as impaired when they drive and talk on a cell phone as they are when they drive intoxicated at the legal blood-alcohol limit of 0.08%.”
There have been numerous efforts to mitigate these risks with autonomous, self-driving vehicles. Few are decentralized enough to offer a one-size-fits-all option while maintaining affordability. Epilog aims to change that.
Epilog’s Sherpa is an ultra high definition HDR camera paired with an AI-powered processor that analyzes and reacts to road conditions. It can be easily installed in most cars made after 2010. The device can be mounted to the windshield and installation takes approximately half an hour. The device in no way damages the vehicle, nor does it void warranty.
The system activates when the driver initiates cruise control and it proceeds to take over gas, steering, and braking, so the driver can pay attention to the road, but relax. The hardware itself costs $999 and has an optional recurring monthly subscription to access replay of past drives, as well as additional features and insights. Sherpa is sold direct-to-consumer online and in physical locations. The Epilog team makes ~60% gross margin on units sold and ~50% on the recurring subscription.
Epilog also has established a partnership with Jabil, one of the world’s largest product manufacturers for electronics. The team holds 8 patents for image-sensing technology, with several others pending.
CEO, Michael Mojaver, served as President and CIO at both NEO Security, an intelligent video surveillance system, and Tempest Microsystems. He holds degrees in Engineering and Physics from UC San Diego.
He is joined by his son, Lance Mojaver, who currently serves as CTO. VP of Business Development, Marc Munford, has an impressive background in sales and holds a degree in Computer Science from California State University- Sacramento. Financial Advisor, Rony Greenberg, previously served as Director of Global Strategic Investment at Intel.
Market and Competition
The global autonomous vehicle market is expected to grow to $172.3B by 2024. Though it is estimated that commercial consumer adoption may take some time, the market is hot and growing. The addressable market could also grow as Epilog’s technology expands, for example into long-haul trucking, a market expected to grow at 60% CAGR through 2024.
Given the large market, it is natural that the field be crowded with both startups and large incumbents. Tesla, for example, has promised fully self-driving cars as soon as this year. And other companies are testing self-driving technology outside of automobiles.
Amazon, for example, has been experimenting with autonomous package delivery via advanced robotics. Though this is not direct competition, it is worth noting as acquisition is a likely exit opportunity with built-out computer vision technology.
Why We Like it
- Strong Product Differentiators: Epilog is unique in that it offers a product that complements the existing cruise control system in most vehicles. The team is not attempting to create an autonomous vehicle from the ground up, rather incorporate self-driving technology into existing car models. This offers a decentralized, affordable, and easy-to-install solution and differentiates Epilog in a very crowded field.
- Trending Market: Though a large market is often indicative of a crowded field, Epilog differentiates itself in a market that is heavily trending, and growing. It is not out of the question that Epilog could get acquired by larger incumbents for its technology.
- Continuously Improving Technology: Like any AI algorithm, Epilog’s system will only get better with time, experience, and more data. The longer its technology is out on the road, the more impressive it will become, making an acquisition for technology or data more promising.
The Rating: Deal To Watch
Epilog is a Deal To Watch. The company, though impressive, poses some serious risks. The autonomous vehicle market is a field in which the most well-funded team will ultimately win out.
The Epilog team is going to need to raise some serious capital for the venture to be successful. This is not to mention the cultural and legal impact self-driving vehicles will have which makes an investment risky, but potentially quite rewarding. The team is definitely going to have to navigate both legal and social roadblocks as it begins to implement its technology if it hasn’t already. Specifically, autonomous vehicles are largely self-regulated, “guided by industry standards but with no clearly enforceable rules,” grounding skepticism in safety and reliability, not to mention the legal hurdles.
This is to say, however, if the team can build out something that large incumbents see as particularly valuable, especially from a technology or data standpoint, Epilog could quickly get scooped up, making acquisition a likely and promising exit opportunity. In fact, earlier this year Apple acquired drive.ai, a software company for autonomous vehicles once valued at $200M. Cruise, another autonomous vehicle company, was acquired back in 2016 by General Motors for $1B.
Again, if this team executes and the technology gets scooped up by a large incumbent, returns would prove to be highly rewarding, but regardless, an investment in Epilog is risky, making it a Deal To Watch.
Olivia is a graduate of Wellesley College with a Bachelor's in Neuroscience and English. She has spent time as an investment intern at Glasswing Ventures, an AI-focused VC fund in Boston where she helped develop machine learning algorithms for identifying early signal success factors of startups.