BMW i Ventures, the venture capital arm of BMW Group, is spending $300 million or R4.2 billion to invest in early-and-mid-stage tech startups that operate in the transportation, manufacturing, supply chain, and sustainability industries.
Founded in 2016, BMW i Ventures is the BMW Group’s venture capital unit for investing in fast-growing technology start-ups. The aim of this unit is to make financially attractive investments that create strategic value-added for the BMW Group.
With a broad focus that includes areas such as digital vehicle technology, autonomous driving, shared and on-demand mobility, electromobility, Industry 4.0 and customer innovation, BWM i Ventures is securing access to the technologies of the future.
Investing in start-ups has proved extremely promising, both from a strategic and an economic perspective, and creates sustainable strategic value-added for the BMW Group.
BMW i Ventures has backed car auction platform provider Motoway, self-driving tech company Aurora and materials startup Boston Metal.
“While the automotive, manufacturing, and supply chain sectors will remain critical areas for our investment strategy, we seek to double down on our investments in the sustainability sector with Fund II,” she wrote.
“The growing issues of climate change and environmental destruction shaping our new realities have made sustainability investing a central pillar in our overall investment strategy. Our emphasis on sustainability reflects not merely the core values of the BMW Group but our conviction as individuals in doing what is right for both nature and humans.”
She added: “We’ve always taken the approach of not merely being savvy financial investors but also value-add partners to both our portfolio companies and the broader BMW group.
“With Fund II, our aim is to be the partner of choice for founders who seek the connections, know-how, and partnerships across not just BMW but across the automotive industry. We believe this approach will result in real, enduring impact that goes beyond just another dollar in the bank account.”
BMW i Ventures was early backers in disruptive companies such as Autofi, Blackmore, CelLink, Chargepoint, Graphcore, Urgent.ly, Proterra, Purecycle, Solid Power, Tekion, Turntide, Xometry, and many more.
“Of the investments made in Fund I, we’ve had seven portfolio companies go public so far, with many more hopefully to come,” said Huang.
BMW i Ventures also announced that Marcus Behrendt and Kasper Sage will become the two new managing partners of the company.
Marcus brings over 25 years of expertise in the automotive industry to this leadership position.
Before joining BMW i Ventures in 2018, he worked in different management functions in research and development of the BMW Group, as a managing director for a market research company, and in various roles for another automotive OEM.
Kasper, who started with the firm at the beginning of Fund I, spent most of his career in Silicon Valley as a venture capital investor with previous roles in management consulting, corporate development and partnerships, as well as in working in startup operating roles.
“It’s with great pleasure to also announce the promotion of Baris Guzel to partner. Baris joined the BMW i Ventures team at the beginning of Fund I and has an extensive track record as a former investor at institutional venture capital funds and as an investment banker at top-tier investment banks,” said Huang.