Urgent.ly and AT&T's Big Deal
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AT&T struck a deal with DC-based startup Urgent.ly to start using its roadside assistance app in AT&T’s connected car platform. Urgent.ly’s app (built into the car's dashboard computer) will allow drivers to request service for their stranded car by pressing one button on the dash. Co-founder Chris Spanos says the app can seamlessly send key data about the car, like if it needs a flat bed tow truck versus a hitch tow, to the service provider. The 10-person company, which has raised $2M in outside funding, met AT&T at CTIA in Las Vegas last September and was able to showcase its technology as one of 40 companies chosen for the CTIA’s Startup Lab program.
AT&T announced the partnership Monday at GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Chris says one way Urgent.ly caught the attention of AT&T was being one of the few roadside assistance apps for connected cars, whereas so many others are focused on entertainment. AT&T has been on a big push to get 4G LTE into cars and the company is working with every auto manufacturer. (BI Intelligence says 75% of cars shipped globally will be built with the necessary hardware to connect to the Internet by 2020.) Urgent.ly is in the process of integrating and developing the service with AT&T and will eventually hire more people as the technology rolls out. Urgent.ly is also fielding inquiries from other companies and Chris says more partnerships may be announced soon.