BMW’s venture capital arm, iVentures, which invests in up and coming technologies working to shape the future of transportation, is now expanding the scope of its investment fund. The automobile giant is not only expanding the current size of its fund but is also planning to move its HQ from New York to Silicon Valley — Palo Alto.
BMW iVentures, which operates separately from the core BMW Group, was launched in 2011 to enable the automaker to invest in cutting-edge startups. The primary aim of these investments is to simplify the people’s mobility needs and develop electric vehicles for a sustainable future. But, the company has now started investing in other modern technologies like artificial intelligence, autonomous driving, and many others.
Thus, the company is racing ahead to increase the value of its new fund from the previous €100 million to a whopping €500 million (approx. $530 million) over the next decade, reports Fortune. Also, BMW iVentures is moving its headquarters from New York to Palo Alto as it’s the primary hub of innovative solutions and startups. It will also enable the investment firm to steadily expand its presence overseas to Europe, Asia, and Israel in the next two years.
Commenting on the same, Klaus Fröhlich, a member of BMW’s Board of Management, says,
You have to be much faster than in the past, and you need to change your attitude. I think everyone is talking about the same thing. For me, it’s not the what. It’s the how.
He further continues to add that the new venture fund has been designed to increase BMW’s profitability and access to technology. Their relationship with the said startups is expected to be more symbiotic — contributing to upgrading tech and building its global network. These could also add to the company’s Vision Next 100 project . BMW is looking to debut its first self-driving vehicle ‘i-NEXT’ by 2021. It was also working on the said technology with Chinese search giant Baidu but the partnership has abruptly come to an end just recently.
iVentures doesn’t shy away from investing in high-potential startups from all stages, be it early or late stage. It has already pumped capital in over 15 mobility-related startups including the likes of Zendrive, MyCityWay, STRATIM, JustPark, ChargePoint, and Moovit among others.
But that’s not it. The automaker has also set up a co-working space in New York. There is currently no word on whether BMW is interested in opening another co-working space in Silicon Valley or not.
The BMW i Coworking Space offers an open workspace for innovative start-ups, in particular those with a special focus on future mobility and clean tech,
reads the official website.