Technology: La Jolla Firm Lets Consumers Tailor Autos to Needs
A revolutionary technology coupled with the financial backing of a prominent auto maker and several venture capitalists are expected to be driving forces of San Diego-based EyeVelocity, Inc.’s future success.
With a mid-April roll-out, EyeVelocity, a new subsidiary of San Diego’s High Technology Solutions, Inc., (HTS) has already created a buzz in the industry.
The company’s visualization software, MACRO System, allows consumers shopping for new cars to customize their vehicles by selecting the exact make, model and color with a click of a mouse.
The technology is also designed to help dealers increase sales of auto accessories such as ski racks, fog lights, running boards and front-end bras.
On average, dealers will pay about $750 a month to lease the EyeVelocity software system for five years. EyeVelocity also generates revenue by charging a transaction fee to accessory merchants.
EyeVelocity has a similar technology, called the Internet Accessorizor, that is used on E-commerce sites. The company plans to announce deals with automotive Web portals soon, said Allan Camaisa, chairman and chief executive of La Jolla-based EyeVelocity and HTS.
Consumers Pick And Choose
“We believe this technology really allows the consumer the ability to ultimately pick and choose, and try things on and make buying decisions either on the Web or at a dealership and walk away with exactly what they want,” Camaisa said.
EyeVelocity recently scored its first contract from Ford Motor Co. Financial terms of the five-year contract were not disclosed.
Ford has also taken an undisclosed equity stake in EyeVelocity. Other financial backers of the company include GE Equity, Hambrecht & Quist’s Access Technology Partners fund, and the Intel 64 Fund.
Besides the automotive industry, EyeVelocity plans to market its technology to other markets, such as the furniture, boating, motorcycle and real estate industries.
EyeVelocity also plans to supply retail kiosks in the future. Its parent company, HTS, already has a division that specializes in interactive kiosks for the military and other clients.
As these kiosks become more popular, a lot of offline retailers will become service centers, said Jim Williamson, senior research analyst for International Data Corp., a Massachusetts-based technology market research and analysis firm.
He also said EyeVelocity’s technology will give smaller retailers a chance to compete.
“If you’re a small bike shop and you carry 15 to 20 bicycles, now you can carry every bicycle that’s ever been manufactured, and you can offer better service,” Williamson said. “This technology allows you to make more money by using the Internet as an enabler.”
He said the EyeVelocity technology will profoundly transform the buying experience.
“I think one of the things we see in a lot of product categories is it’s difficult to bridge the gap between the offline experience and the online experience.
“I don’t know of anybody that has this type of solution.”
Other companies, such as New York-based getCUSTOM.com, offer interactive customization for products, but not to the scale of EyeVelocity, he said.
As for EyeVelocity, Camaisa plans to turn the company into a success just like HTS, which has surged to $35 million in annual revenues since its creation in 1990. HTS has 400 employees around the nation, with 150 of them in San Diego.
EyeVelocity employs about half a dozen people at its La Jolla headquarters. The remaining 134 workers are at the company’s manufacturing facility in Portland, Ore.