BMW is looking to the future with a major investment in startup companies and new technology. In a press release issued today, BMW Group announced that they are creating a venture capital fund of up to 500 million euros over the course of ten years.
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The investment was done to make BMW i Ventures able to invest in new technology, like autonomous driving. If you’re unfamiliar with BMW i Ventures, as most are, it was founded in New York back in 2011 with the intent of investing start-ups. With these investments, they are hoping to secure promising start-ups and their technology.
“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, in the press release. “The atmosphere of radical openness and idea-driven exchange that characterises the start-up scene is particularly fruitful for an innovation leader like BMW.”
When BMW i Ventures invests, this is what they say the companies will get:
“Outside-in: Minority holdings by BMW i Ventures in the best, most innovative start-ups provide the BMW Group with external access to innovations and secure the company’s role as a technology pioneer.
Inside-out: BMW i Ventures not only provides financial support for start-ups, but also contributes internal non-monetary resources or “smart capital”, such as technical expertise and access to the network of an established global player.”
Is this BMW’s attempt to take on companies like Tesla? It may seem like it, but automakers work on these kinds of investments all the time. This time, however, it seems that BMW is focusing on technology that focuses around what we know as future tech, such as autonomous driving. This is definitely an exciting announcement and a step towards the future for BMW.