IoT Editor's Day Silicon Valley: KPMG Likes Connected Car Space, CRM, Education Tech

By Paula Bernier November 17, 2015

Jules Walker has been tasked with helping KPMG identify the next Google or Facebook and bringing them in as a client. So Walker, director of the venture capital practice at global accounting firm KPMG, always has an eye out for the next big thing. And the next big thing in his estimation is the connected car.

“The connected car, and soon to be the driverless car, is coming faster than expected,” Walker told me last week at IoT Editor’s Day Silicon Valley. He added that all the car companies now have venture arms and are investing in and buying technologies to move their efforts on this front forward.

So what attracts Walker and the VC practice at KPMG to specific startups? If Andreessen Horowitz and Sequoia Capital are involved, he said, KPMG is interested. If not, he added, KPMG looks at the revenue model and the upside. KPMG’s VC effort makes its money on IPOs and recurring revenue from its clients, so startups with a goal to be acquired in the short term are probably not worth its while, he said.

KPMG likes the SaaS model, including CRM companies (it does some work with Salesforce and some of the players in its ecosystem, and sees SugarCRM as a strong secondary or tertiary player in the CRM space), and hot new unified communications aggregator Slack, which is a KPMG client. KPMG is also looking with interest at education technology companies, but Walker said this is a highly fragmented marketplace.

Of course, Uber is one of the hottest companies on the tech frontier at the moment, and Walker said that he thinks there’s room in the marketplace for others beyond Uber and Lyft. He mentioned that Turo, the company formerly known as RelayRides, just raised $47 million. Turo’s angle on the car space, however, is different from that of Uber in that Turo enables peer-to-peer car rentals. That way if you’re on vacation or otherwise not using your vehicle, you can make money on it rather than letting it sit idle.

Edited by Ken Briodagh

Executive Editor, TMC

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