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One of the most powerful women in tech is working with this BMW-backed driving-safety startup

Padmasree Warrior, the U.S. CEO of NextEV, is joining the board of Zendrive and also previously served on the boards of Box, Microsoft and Gap and was a Cisco adviser.

International CTIA Wireless Show Held In Las Vegas Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Zendrive, a driving analytics startup, has added an industry heavyweight to its board. Padmasree Warrior, the U.S. CEO of Chinese electric car startup NextEV, is joining the company’s now three-person board.

Warrior joined NextEV last year, coming from Cisco where she was its chief technology and strategy officer. Before that she was the CTO at Motorola.

Zendrive was founded by former Googlers Jonathan Matus and Pankaj Risbood and has investment from Sherpa Capital, BMW and Max Levchin. Warrior already serves on the boards of Box, Microsoft, Cornell and Gap Inc., and was recently tapped to be an adviser to Sherpa Capital.

“She combines a really interesting set of backgrounds and expertise that are really rare,” Matus told Recode. “She’s one of the best people on the planet to think about mobile — she also understands enterprise businesses through her involvement in the board of Microsoft and Box and Cisco and she’s really attuned to building cutting-edge technology.”

As the head of a transportation company, Warrior is particularly well-positioned to help advise Zendrive. For now, Warrior said she’ll just be lending her expertise, but given the direction the two companies are taking there’s room to work together down the road.

While NextEV is attempting to take on Tesla, Zendrive wants to make roads safer by using sensor technology already built into phones — like accelerometers, gyroscopes and GPS — to capture and analyze driving data and then use that data to coach people into becoming better drivers. For now, the company is looking into working with commercial fleets and insurance companies but eventually much of that driving data can be used to inform self-driving technology.

And according to Warrior, that’s the sweet spot:

“For Zendrive, in addition to working with a growing list of mobile partners, there is a need to work with cities and policy makers to make changes to improve road safety,” Warrior told Recode. “For the future, autonomous cars are evolving to be the next important platform. Analytics related to this area will be incredibly important, and Zendrive is building the risk models and safety technology stack for this new paradigm of transportation.”

As technology evolves, insurers will be looking for more data that can help offer incentives to its customers to be better drivers, such as discounts. Warrior thinks Zendrive can be the insurance industry’s equivalent of a FICO score.

“Zendrive can help insurers and transportation businesses improve how risk is measured, managed and priced,” she said. “The granularity of Zendrive’s data and the power of its machine learning is transformational for the insurance industry. Just as it makes sense to have one FICO score available for any loan rather than multiple sources for every loan and lender, safety data should be collected and analyzed by a third party that’s trusted, ubiquitous and specialized.”

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