Phones have come a long way since the first landline. Now, they’re the hyper connected devices we carry around in our pockets all day. Vehicles have the power to be that connected, too.
“If you think about the evolution of the phone, cars are on a similar path, but the vehicles of today are kind of like flip phones,” says Rob Solomon, the co-founder of DIMO.
DIMO is on a mission to take vehicles to the next level of connectivity, to crack that smartphone moment for mobility.
Founded in 2021, DIMO is building a global data connectivity platform for mobility. Not only does DIMO’s technology allow users to connect their vehicle to a mobile app for amazing insights, but DIMO’s platform is decentralized and open source. Anyone that’s part of the DIMO community and holds $DIMO tokens — its network of drivers, developers, car hackers, and partners — has a say in the platform and a part to play in its future.
The company behind DIMO, Digital Infrastructure Inc., has raised $9 million in seed funding, grown the team in Michigan (Ann Arbor and Detroit) as well as New York, and with 25,000 vehicles connected, DIMO’s future is an open road ahead.
Software Meets Hardware
Car and tech enthusiasts, fleet operators, or anyone who just wants to better understand and take care of their vehicle, can purchase DIMO’s device, the Macaron, for just $99. Devices like these usually cost hundreds. The device gets installed in the vehicle and connects to a mobile app.
“People really want to know more about their car. Fleet managers want visibility into all the vehicles in their fleet. They want to track everything, schedule maintenance, and make informed decisions for their team. Other people are just really excited to get more information about their car,” says Shaolin Funktastic, DIMO’s Senior Customer Success Manager.
Other insights people can get from their vehicle using DIMO include:
- Alerts on tire pressure, fuel and oil levels, and battery healthy
- Connect multiple cars and stream data from all your devices — something a fleet owner would want to do, or a parent who wants to make sure their kid’s car has enough gas
- Keyless entry
- Store your maintenance records and other vehicle documentation
- Privacy protected GPS to set privacy zones around your home and workplace
“Our profile right now skews toward early adopters and tech enthusiasts. But we believe this will be something like having a nice thermostat. You can maximize the use of an important thing you own,” says Dylan Moreland, Principal Engineer at DIMO.
Open Source for the Open Road
Not only is DIMO creating technology for drivers — it’s also creating technology for developers.
Because of the competitive nature of OEMs, having a decentralized platform is critical. GM, Ford, and the likes, don’t want to join a platform if another company owns all the data on it. Dylan says that if you want to build an app for cars, you have to build multiple apps, and the car companies can be difficult to work with. Plus, you shouldn’t have to fear Apple or Google pulling the rug out from under you.
“We’re building a solid infrastructure for anyone to come and build vehicle apps.”
Building a business on top of Facebook APIs, or Plaid APIs, etc., make you reliant on someone else for your business. These big companies have been known to kick people off, raise prices astronomically, and the model doesn’t work for automakers who would never want to build an app on top of something they don’t own, Rob says. They don’t even trust Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, and GM is removing those features from future EVs.
“That’s exactly why our open-source data server is so important,” says Rob. “We’re building a solid infrastructure for anyone to come and build vehicle apps.”
James Reátegui, Engineering Team Lead at DIMO, says that their neutral platform is critical. “Even if we disappear, the platform still exists.”
And so does its innovative technology.
If you’re interested in taking a look at DIMO’s infrastructure, check out the DIMO network on GitHub, which hosts over 50 repositories.
A Different Kind of Blockchain Company
DIMO’s decentralized, neutral, open-source platform is powered by blockchain technology.
James is the first to admit that blockchain can have a negative connotation with consumers — think of the over investment with NFTs, bitcoin, etc. While many engineers are intrigued by blockchain, they are put off by all the blockchain companies that are just a gimmick or a trend.
But DIMO is building a different kind of blockchain company.
“We're not a blockchain project in search of a problem to solve. We saw a problem to solve, and blockchain happened to be the best technology,” says Rob. “These are interesting problems for real technologists to solve at DIMO that provide global utility.”
Plus, the over saturation of NFTs has built a big infrastructure that DIMO can now take advantage of to create what they’re setting out to do.
“These are interesting problems for real technologists to solve at DIMO that provide global utility.”
For the developers who work at DIMO, they have an amazing opportunity to work on the latest web3 tech.
“We’re builders,” says James. “We like building and experimenting. Most of the code you write will be in an open-source repository. You won’t spend your time figuring out which color of a button is going to get the most clicks.”
The engineering environment at DIMO moves quickly, and James said engineers who join the team will build tech within their first week on the job, and will likely ship it to prod, too.
“We’re always deploying to production. We deploy your code and it’s going to hit real users on a daily basis,” James says.
Dylan has heard from many new hires that this has made it an amazing experience.
“Working on distributed systems and cryptography are not something engineers normally have a chance to do,” says Dylan. “With DIMO still being at an early stage with a small team, it's an opportunity to have a significant amount of impact on how the company does, and it's a really good opportunity to learn a lot.”
DIMO is scaling their team in Southeast Michigan and New York. Check out their open opportunities to join a team of purpose-driven innovators and builders.