Since its foundation in 2016, Porsche Ventures has been strategically investing in business models in the areas of customer experience, mobility and digital lifestyles at six locations worldwide. In addition, the venture capital arm of Porsche AG will be looking to acquire stakes in companies promoting future technology such as artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, and virtual and augmented reality.
With its venture capital activities, Porsche aims to make strategic investments in young companies that are in the early and growth phases. As a holistic venture programme, this encompasses the scope of venture capital and start-up investments, as well as acting as an incubator. Porsche Ventures’ global team is closely networked with the digital experts of Porsche Digital, Berlin-based early-stage investor APX, and company builder Forward31. These three units see themselves as partners of start-ups in the portfolio, while also providing them with strategic support post-investment.
These commitments provide Porsche with sustainable access to the digital ecosystem, and allow the company to learn and develop strategically.
Support for founders who dare to make their dream come true
The venture capital measures developed so far have proved to be positive. As investment sums have increased annually, the portfolio remains in the black. “Our investments pay off not only strategically, but also financially,” says Lutz Meschke, Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board and Member of the Executive Board for Finance and IT at Porsche AG. “They generate important innovation and investment impulses – and are already making a growing value contribution to the company.”
Porsche Ventures' investments include pioneers of mobility worldwide – and beyond. Since 2016, for example, the venture capital arm has agreed successful partnerships with technology and sports car company Rimac Automobili, the Israeli start-ups TriEye and Anagog, Urgent.ly – a platform for mobility and roadside assistance, Swiss head-up display specialists WayRay and even fitness company VAHA. Among the successful exits were digital parking service evopark and fleet management specialists Fleetonomy. The entire portfolio and all fields of activity can be viewed here.
How Porsche’s start-up ecosystem is seamlessly connected
“We believe that venture capital activities are a great additional tool alongside our other innovation projects,” says Lutz Meschke. “They help us understand different products, markets, business models and success factors.” In this regard, he says, Porsche Ventures is in a unique position to deliver strategic returns while also generating a financial return. “Our investments follow Porsche’s Strategy 2030. The networking with other start-up projects and globally active investors, as well as platforms and digital units, is fluid.”
One example is the software start-up Nitrobox. The young Hamburg-based company completed the APX accelerator programme, a joint venture between Porsche and Axel Springer. In February 2020, Nitrobox concluded a financing round in the single-digit million euro range: the NeueCapital Partners fund from Porsche Ventures and Silicon Valley.
Cooperation between Startup Autobahn and selected venture capital funds
A similar path was taken by the young Berlin-based company Gapless, which enables customers to digitally manage their classic cars and other valuables, and to share their vehicle’s history with other users in a tamper-proof manner. Gapless was part of the open innovation platform Startup Autobahn, which has been in partnership with Porsche since 2017. This was recently increased and extended by three years. Startup Autobahn forms an interface between industry-leading organisations and young technology companies. At the heart of each six-month programme, corporate partners work with start-ups to test technology and work towards the common goal of achieving a production-ready implementation.
In addition to direct investments, Porsche is a shareholder in selected venture capital funds such as Eventures in Europe and the USA, as well as in the funds Magma and Grove in Israel.
Interested founders and companies can find out more about Porsche Ventures and submit their pitch deck here.