Image Source: BMW
BMW I Ventures is launching a $300 million venture capital fund to invest in sustainable applied sciences, transportation, manufacturing, and supply chain. The agency acts independently from BMW but is fully backed by the German parent company. The previous €500 million (about $525 million) fund, which was launched when the company relocated to Silicon Valley in 2016, is now closed to new investors. Fund II will now be the new source of investments.
Fund I concentrated on self-driving and digital vehicle technologies, as well as customer experience and innovative manufacturing. This fund, for example, included autonomous truck firm Kodiak Robotics, which has just secured investment from BMW I Ventures. Rather than investing in core vehicle technology, Fund II will place a greater emphasis on sustainability and zero emissions in all processes that lead up to designing, producing, and assembling a car.
Marcus Behrendt, managing partner at BMW I Ventures, said that “Sustainable supply chain is one of the things we’re very interested in right now.” “BMW Corp. has stated that it intends to drastically decrease its carbon footprint, and as a result, it is examining all options for doing so, including not only emissions from automobiles, but also emissions created during the manufacture and development of cars.
At the end of 2019, BMW I Ventures began dabbling with sustainable ventures, investing in Turntide Technologies, a company developing a smart electric motor system, Solid Power, a solid-state battery technology firm, and Boston Metal, a startup looking to decarbonize the metal sector. According to Behrendt, the firm’s most recent investments are indicative of what Fund II would offer. The business has already made its first investment from the new fund, with Motorway, a used vehicle marketplace located in the United Kingdom.
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BMW I Ventures invests in startups so that they may network with BMW engineers and workers and understand how the automotive ecosystem operates. For a firm like Solid Power, where the technology is still four or five years away, Behrendt says there is a solid partnership between BMW’s business unit and the company to help them expand.
BMW I Ventures, according to both Behrendt and Sage, has no plans to buy any of its investments, but rather wants to be at the forefront of discovering high-potential businesses that can collaborate with BMW or the rest of the industry in the future.