Jens Nylander has initiated his conquest of USA. Startup Automile, so far they have more than 1.000 customers and are ahead raising next investment, where the goal is to strengthen its war chest with up towards $19.9 million.
Most people probably think of a little mp3 player when they hear his name. When Jens Nylander was 23 years old he started to sell his mp3 player called “Jens of Sweden!”. The business concept was a success and in 2004 the company turnover was $8.4 million.
But the success story came to an abrupt end. Come September 2005, the company was bankrupt, reasons being problems with quality, Swedish customs service and an American retailer going bankrupt.
Last time we spoke with Jens Nylander he called the new venture in Automile, a personal comeback. As of this summer, he lives in Palo Alto Silicon Valley, where he is building the company he co-founded with Jacob Pontén and Felix Rosén.
“My family is here with me now, and it suits us great to live in Palo Alto. I am the CEO and responsible for the American company which now is Automiles’ headquarters. We are hiring four people here in California and come winter we will have an office for them as well”, Jens Nylander says.
Automiles’ business idea is to connect cars to the internet in order to measure and collect data regarding the state of the cars and the drivers practice. The product consists of a small plastic box which is connected to the car and reports are handled over the internet. Through this technology, you can for instance see when the car is in need of service or inspection.
“I would evaluate this start, as better than ever. The number of customers are steadily increasing. We have, today, more than 1.000 clients and between 5-10.000 cars are currently connected to our system”, Jens Nylander says.
What is it like to run a company now, compared to 10 years ago?
“The difference today is that for companies to grow globally. That’s because the distribution of products have become better. It’s easier to charge and to deliver support, regardless of nationality. The American market in particular has embraced e-commerce. People buy anything and everything on the internet. There was no such trend ten years ago.”
Jens Nylander reveals that, during the two months the company has existed in USA, deals have been signed with an American key customer. He will not, however, reveal which one.
“The Swedish postal service has an enormous amount of vehicles, but here in the US, there are much bigger players. One of these is our customer but I’m not saying that USPS is our customer. We look at it as a breakthrough and by that show competitors, investors and ourselves, that we’re doing the right thing”
This spring, the company raised $5.4 million from Point Nine and Dawn Captal. During 2016, the aim is to raise $15 – 20 million, corresponding 123 – 165 million Swedish Krona, from American investors.
“We are in talks with the leading venture capital firms seated in Silicon Valley. It’s only a qeustion of when we will make investments and what to do with them. We have huge development costs. It’s an effort to build a company, but we make money constantly. Venture capitalists over here like that”, says Jens Nylander.
Update: In a previous version of the article we wrote that Nylanders goal was to raise $1.8-2.4 million. The correct amount was $15-20 million as was reported at Breakit. We apologize for the mistake.