Today, BMW Group announces a new sub-brand: “i”. Along with the official announcement of the new series of electric vehicles, BMW also launches a venture fund. BMW plans to expand its range of mobility services over the years ahead.
To achieve this, a Venture Capital company was founded in New York City, BMW i Ventures, with an investment totalling up to 100 million US dollars
“BMW i offers visionary cars and services, inspiring design, and an entirely new concept of premium mobility – all with a focus on sustainability”, explained Robertson. The BMW i brand comprises vehicles and services developed since 2007 as part of project i, a BMW Group think tank exploring sustainable mobility solutions. It is the BMW Group’s response to changing customer needs, including increasing demand for alternative drive trains, such as electric drive systems and hybrids. There is a widespread desire in megacities for solutions which intelligently combine the benefits of various mobility concepts in a single package.
The new venture fund is aimed at talent in the New York City area and likely in Silicon Valley that will help the company create an eco-system around the brand. The $100 million will be funding a wide range of mobile applications and connectivity solutions that will enhance the driving experience and connect the customers to their vehicles, and car-to-car communications.
“Mobility requirements are changing in rapidly expanding megacities” say Ian Robertson, member of BMW board. “Our commitment to car-enabled mobility services, like BMW ConnectedDrive, will be significantly expanded under BMW i. We’ll also grow our car-related premium mobility services. What’s truly groundbreaking is that we’ll begin offering car-independent premium mobility services. BMW i aims to provide customized mobility solutions across a seamless network of premium products and premium services.” The focus is on solutions which will improve usage of existing parking spaces, as well as intelligent navigation systems with local information, intermodal route planning, and premium car-sharing.
New York-based My City Way is the first company in which BMW i Ventures has taken a stake. As a mobile app, My City Way provides users with information on public transportation, parking availability, and local entertainment for over 40 cities in the US. The company plans to expand its services to Munich and other major European cities.