BMW’s efforts in developing and launching next-level technologies on par with the global need for sustainability are not going to falter. On the contrary, the Germans just announced that their BMW i Ventures program will be able to make investments in a wider range of areas soon, thanks to a venture capital fund of up to 500 million euros over ten years.
This aims at both autonomous driving tech but also digitization and other areas to secure continued access to the technologies of the future. BMW i Ventures, which was founded in New York in 2011 with an initial venture capital of 100 million dollars, is relocating its headquarters to Silicon Valley, the main hub for start-ups in the US. With a high level of autonomy, the venture capital unit will be able to make swift investment decisions and win successful and promising start-ups worldwide as partners.
Investments in start-ups have proven extremely promising, both from a strategic and an economic perspective, and create sustainable value for the BMW Group. “These days, more and more innovations come from the start-up scene. Venturing allows us to tap into this potential at an early stage. To achieve this, we are now giving BMW i Ventures a much broader footing and will expand our involvement in Europe and Asia, as well as at our new location in Silicon Valley,” explained Peter Schwarzenbauer, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for MINI, BMW Motorrad, Rolls-Royce and Aftersales.
“The mobility of the future and our industry is being defined by the increasingly rapid pace of technological change. Anyone who wants to succeed must shape this change and have access to the best ideas,” according to Klaus Fröhlich, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for Development. “BMW i Ventures keeps us close to trendsetters from all different fields and their innovations. The benefit for our partners is in access to the experience that comes from 100 years of car-building and managing complex topics and processes. Together, we can speed up the pace of change and development,” Fröhlich continued.
BMW i Ventures’ previous focus on mobility services and electro-mobility will be expanded to cover the BMW Group’s full innovation spectrum in all areas of Strategy Number ONE > NEXT, even those outside of the traditional automotive value chain. Future topics for exploration will focus on “Enabling Technology and Digital Vehicle Technology”, “Mobility and Digital Services”, “Customer Experience” and “Advanced Production Technology”.
Among the companies approached by BMW for its i Ventures project, we can mention RideCell from San Francisco as well as ReachNow that is evolving at a rapid pace and Chargepoint that works together with ChargeNow, offering more than 31,000 charging points. BMW i Ventures’ most recent investment was in Silicon Valley-based company Carbon3D, providing the BMW Group with the opportunity to extend its existing competence in the field of additive manufacturing technologies.