Featured Startup Pitch: Nebula Systems wants to connect your car to the cloud

By Editor June 17, 2014

Roman Di Lullo, NebulaSystemsBy Roman Di Lullo, Nebula Systems managing director

Elevator Pitch: MECH5 is a unique, fully cloud based, ‘complete vehicle’ diagnostics system. It empowers individual users and connected car companies by enabling them to remotely access all a vehicle’s electronic systems and all the data and functionality hidden within. Built on 20 years of reverse engineering expertise, MECH5 is a true breakthrough in the world of connected car technology.

Product/Service Description

MECH5 is a cloud-based vehicle diagnostics solution, suitable for exploitation by:

– Independent garages

– Freelance mechanics

– Car enthusiasts

and companies within the following industries:

– Telematics

– Fleet management

– Vehicle rental

– In-car entertainment

– Roadside assistance

-Usage-based insurance

The system includes features and services far beyond conventional standalone vehicle diagnostic products currently in the market.

MECH5 screenshot

MECH5 works via a small Vehicle Communication Interface (VCI) which plugs into the vehicle’s diagnostic socket and is then connected securely to the cloud. Users can then access the wealth of information stored within the vehicle’s computer systems (ECUs) wirelessly and remotely from anywhere in the world, using any Windows, Android, or iOS web-connected device.

MECH5 can connect with multiple partners in the cloud and gives access to any and every ECU in a connected vehicle for:

  • Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC) Read and Erase – OEM DTCs with full descriptions
  • Live Data Snapshots – store live data parameters (PIDs) like fuel level or odometer
  • Dynamic Live Data – see parameters change graphically in real-time
  • Component Activation – i.e. door lock/unlock, windows and lights control, etc.
  • Service Functions (coding and programming) – add keys, code injectors, etc.
  • Historic Vehicle Health Reports

Founders’ Story

My passion for computers and electronics made me start developing PC-based automotive diagnostic systems back in 1995, when I started DEC Automotive.

It was 2001 when I first met Andrew Steer, managing director of Maverick Technology (UK) Ltd., a diagnostic tool distribution company. Since then, our two companies have worked together developing and distributing the DEC Superscan, a highly-regarded aftermarket diagnostic tool.

In early 2013, I had the idea of putting the Superscan IP in the cloud and change the concept of a physical ‘tool’ and transform it into a ‘service.’ My high esteem for Andrew and our similar old school philosophies of integrity, hard work, and believing that a man’s word should be his bond, culminated in us forming Nebula Systems to take forward what is now MECH5.

MECH5 screenshot2

Market Opportunity

The Connected Car Telematics world is the next big thing, with every different type of major player trying to grab market share—including Google and Apple. Our 20 year expertise in the field of automotive diagnostics and vehicle networking, and the remote capabilities we can offer to any company that wishes to leverage data, service information, health records, or bi-directional functionality from any electronic control unit (ECU) in a car, marks us out as unique in this arena. The list of companies—from the industries outlined above—that we are already engaging with is like a who’s who of the connected car world.

The car enthusiast world is also demanding economic access to more than just their car’s engines via phone apps. MECH5 can complement these existing technologies and open up bumper-to-bumper ECU functionality for the very first time to the enthusiast market.

Last but definitely not least is the professional aftermarket workshop environment that we have been working with for the last 20 years. MECH5 gives them far greater access, functionality and flexibility of deployment than any other conventional scan tool available right now.

Market Position, Competition and Differentiation

Due to the unique features of MECH5, there is currently no other competition in the marketplace that we are aware of. Generic OBD2 engine-only devices and apps simply do not compare with MECH5’s complete vehicle ECU professional coverage. The many professional diagnostic scan tools available throughout the world usually sell for hundreds, if not thousands, of £££ or $$$. However, MECH5’s subscription service levels are non-contract and extremely economic in comparison, while our SCAN5 vehicle communication hardware (VCI) is envisaged to sell for less than £200, with a small monthly subscription thereafter.

Business Model

Professional and enthusiast repair market: With cloud-based deployment and accessibility, MECH5 as a non-contract monthly subscription based model compares extremely favorably with current offerings in the conventional scan tool market.

B2B: We are very flexible in this regard. Usual terms can be based on different levels of service on a pay-per-VIN per month model. However, we are happy to adapt our commercial terms to the particular type of service requirement and business type that we are engaging with.

Current Needs

Nebula Systems is currently seeking backers through Kickstarter to raise £50,000 to complete the first stage development of MECH5 and launch it later this year.

We are also looking for a first round capital raise of $1-to-$2 million to complete its vehicle reverse-engineering and further extend MECH5’s functionality by employing new development engineers within new premises based in the U.K.; and opening commercial and development offices in California, USA.

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NebulaSystems logoHeadquarters: Buckingham, Buckinghamshire, UK

Website: www.nebulasystems.com

Founders: Roman Di Lullo, Andrew Steer

Investors: Bootstrapped

Year Founded: 2013

Kickstarter: kickstarter.com/projects/nebulasystems/mech5-vehicle-diagnostics-for-everyone

Twitter: @Nebula_Systems

Facebook: facebook.com/nebulasystemsukltd; facebook.com/mechfive

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/company/3193453