Daniel Ricciardo, a former Formula One driver who retired from racing in 2022, has raised $16 million in a Series A funding round for his startup Ricciardo Technologies, which develops advanced software and hardware solutions for the car industry. The funding round was led by Sequoia Capital, one of the most prominent venture capital firms in Silicon Valley, and joined by other investors such as Founders Fund, Andreessen Horowitz, and Y Combinator.
Ricciardo Technologies was founded in 2022 by Ricciardo and his co-founder James Allison, a former technical director of Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team. The startup aims to leverage Ricciardo’s racing experience and Allison’s engineering expertise to create products that can improve the performance, safety, and efficiency of cars, both on and off the track.
One of the main products that Ricciardo Technologies is working on is a smart steering wheel that can monitor the driver’s biometric data, such as heart rate, blood pressure, and stress level, and provide real-time feedback and suggestions to optimize the driving experience. The smart steering wheel can also connect to other devices in the car, such as the dashboard, the navigation system, and the entertainment system, and enable voice and gesture control.
Another product that Ricciardo Technologies is developing is a wireless charging system that can charge electric vehicles (EVs) without plugging them into a power outlet. The wireless charging system uses magnetic resonance technology to transfer energy from a transmitter pad on the ground to a receiver pad on the vehicle. The wireless charging system can also communicate with the vehicle’s battery management system and adjust the charging rate according to the battery’s state of charge and temperature.
Why Ricciardo decided to switch from racing to entrepreneurship?
Ricciardo, who was born in Australia and started racing at the age of nine, had a successful career as a Formula One driver, winning seven races and 31 podiums. He raced for teams such as Red Bull Racing, Renault F1 Team, and McLaren F1 Team, and was known for his aggressive overtaking moves and his cheerful personality.
However, Ricciardo decided to retire from racing at the end of 2022, citing his desire to pursue new challenges and opportunities. He said that he had always been interested in technology and innovation, and that he wanted to use his racing knowledge and skills to create something that could benefit the car industry and society at large.
“I have always loved racing, but I also felt that there was more I could do with my passion and talent. I have always been fascinated by technology and how it can improve our lives. I wanted to create something that could combine my racing experience with cutting-edge technology and make a positive impact on the world,” Ricciardo said in an interview.
Ricciardo met Allison, who had also left Formula One in 2022 after winning seven constructors’ championships with Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team, at a tech conference in San Francisco. The two hit it off and decided to join forces to start Ricciardo Technologies.
“We share a common vision of how technology can revolutionize the car industry. We have complementary skills and backgrounds that can help us achieve our goals. We are both driven by curiosity and ambition, and we are not afraid to take risks and try new things,” Allison said.
How Ricciardo Technologies plans to grow and scale its business?
Ricciardo Technologies has already secured partnerships with several car manufacturers, such as Tesla, BMW, Audi, and Ford, who are interested in testing and implementing its products. The startup also plans to launch its own line of consumer products, such as smart steering wheels and wireless chargers, that can be compatible with any car model.
The startup intends to use the $16 million funding to expand its team, which currently consists of 25 employees, mostly engineers and designers. The startup also plans to invest in research and development, marketing, and customer service.
Ricciardo Technologies hopes to become a leader in the car industry by providing innovative solutions that can enhance the driving experience for both drivers and passengers. The startup also aims to contribute to the transition to sustainable mobility by promoting EV adoption and reducing carbon emissions.
“We believe that we have a unique opportunity to disrupt the car industry with our technology. We want to create products that can make driving more enjoyable, safer, and greener. We want to make a difference in the world,” Ricciardo said.