On Monday, BMW unveil the new “i” sub-brand and the first two plug-in hybrid vehicles that will launch in 2013: BMW i3 and i8. In the same press conference, BMW made another important announcement which created an extensive buzz in the Internet world. The Munich-based automaker is launching “BMW i Ventures”, a $100 million venture capital fund to develop a range of mobility-related services.
The services are meant to reach even people that don’t own a car, from parking space information, to ground transportation guidance or planing of a route using various forms of public transportation. The fund is meant for finding and helping the best and most innovative tech startups in the fields of mobility and travel.
The fund’s first investment is MyCityWay, a company that develops location-aware apps for urban navigation. With BMW’s funding, MyCityWay will expand to another 40 cities worldwide, including BMW’s hometown Munich.
In a short interview for Forbes, Tom Kowaleski, BMWNA vice president of Communications said “it isn’t all about putting people in a BMW or a Mini.” By offering mobility services, BMW sees a potential new source of long-term revenue. This is in its infancy. The vision behind this, as we go particularly into urban markets, is that mobility has means which have nothing to do with an automobile.”
The company is currently accepting applications.
The BMW i Ventures fund made the Forbes news as well and the US publication digs deeper into the subject.