Shell venture arm invests in AI-based car-damage spotter Ravin

Investment marks Shell Ventures’ first Israel investment, startup says; London- and Haifa-based firm uses AI to detect and analyze vehicle damage with standard cameras

Shoshanna Solomon is The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

Ravin.AI uses computer vision and machine learning to detect and analyze vehicle damage (Courtesy)
Ravin.AI uses computer vision and machine learning to detect and analyze vehicle damage (Courtesy)

Ravin.AI, a London- and Haifa-based startup that uses artificial intelligence to  inspect the condition of vehicles, said it has completed a $4 million seed round, led by PICO Venture Partners, with participation from Shell Ventures and automotive entrepreneur Adam Draizin.

The investment marks Shell Ventures’ first Israel investment, the startup said in a statement. Shell Ventures is the corporate strategic investing arm of Royal Dutch Shell Plc, a British-Dutch oil and gas firm.

Ravin, founded in 2018, uses computer vision and machine learning to detect and analyze vehicle damage without the use of specialized hardware. The company’s patent-pending technology turns off-the-shelf cameras — CCTV models or phone cameras — into advanced inspection tools, detecting more damage than the human eye can spot, thus reducing inspection costs, the statement said.

The technology analyzes camera footage and then creates a holistic 360-degree vehicle view with “accurate damage detection.” The software can identify the location of the damage, define its severity and even estimate its costs, the firm’s website says. Its autonomous reporting system means that no human intervention is required for processing or analyzing the vehicle scans.

Illustrative image of car repairs/maintenance (welcomia; iStock by Getty Images)

Car damage globally causes over $100 billion in annual losses. Almost $50 billion is spent by car owners and insurers on processing and overpaying for damage often caused by third parties, the statement said.

“Ravin’s mission is to bring trust and transparency to the often stressful process of a car changing hands — whether it’s buying a used car or renting a car for the weekend,” said Ravin CEO Eliron Ekstein in the statement. “Our first customers are already seeing the benefits of using our technology, and we look forward to rolling out additional partnerships over the next several months.”

The firm has set up commercial partnerships across the US and Europe, including at Avis’ Heathrow Airport location.

Car rental companies using Ravin can offer their customers an easier check-in experience through on-the-spot automated damage detection, the company said. This gives them the ability to document and charge customers more fairly, minimizing disputes and optimizing their fleet maintenance.

Ravin also helps used-car buyers and dealers to detect existing damage, enables vehicle manufacturers to identify defects in new cars, and allows insurance companies to process claims faster.

The team of Ravin.AI, a London and Haifa based startup that uses artificial intelligence to allow to help inspect the condition of vehicles (Courtesy)

The firm will use the injection of funds to further develop its technology products and to expand its commercial reach across North America, Europe and Asia, the statement said.

“Automating business processes in automotive retail and rental environments will generate incredible value for consumers and the industry, and we believe that the Ravin team is uniquely positioned to drive this change,” said Elie Wurtman, general partner at PICO Venture Partners, an Israeli VC firm, in the statement.

“Shell is constantly looking to invest and incubate the best ideas to provide new services and added value to our customers,” said Shell New Energies VP for Digital Businesses Roger Hunter. “We will continue to seek opportunities to work with the team to bring Ravin AI to our network of customers.”

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