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Stefan Heck’s little-known startup, Nauto, works to make cars safer today and self-driving tomorrow

Heck is No. 68 on the Recode 100.

Many investors have poured hundreds of millions of dollars into self-driving car startups, mostly accepting that they won’t have businesses for a while. Nauto, founded by Stanford professor and former McKinsey director Stefan Heck, is an exception.

As the auto-tech startup begins working with carmakers on software that could eventually enable autonomous driving, it is already bringing in revenue by offering devices — which detect things like dangerous driving behavior, and capture footage inside and around the car during incidents — to commercial fleets and to insurance companies.

With two revenue streams and a long-term goal of enabling self-driving cars, it’s not hard to understand how Heck has been able to attract $159 million from major investors like Greylock and SoftBank. Under Heck’s leadership, the company also scored partnerships with a number of automakers, like BMW and GM, while also beginning its international expansion.

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