Automating the Product Development Process - BMW i Ventures’ Investment in ELISE

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BMW i Ventures is excited to announce an investment in ELISE - a German tech startup aiming to automate the product development process. We are thrilled to support the team around Moritz, Sebastian and Daniel in its €3m seed round alongside our friends at Cherry, UVC and Venture Stars.

Our excitement is based on the rapid development of the design engineering stack. With advances in simulation, generative design and additive manufacturing, we have seen a wide variety of emerging tools, often focused around specific use cases and mastering certain parts of the product development process to perfection. These have come from both large publicly listed incumbent companies, as well as smaller newly founded startups. The challenge that engineers often face when using such tools is how to combine them into a fluent experience that minimizes manual steps and maximizes time spent at efficient creative problem-solving work.

ELISE is developing a generative engineering software to solve this challenge. In less than a year and with limited resources the team has managed to onboard some of the largest manufacturing organizations in Germany as users of the ELISE product. The reason for these customers using ELISE is straightforward - efficiency gains.

Across various industries, engineers have managed to reduce up to a dozen engineering steps to a single one, merge numerous software tools into one interface and practically eliminate manual iterations. While we are announcing our investment, the team at ELISE is preparing its next-generation product enabling its customers to achieve even better performance.

We are delighted to welcome Moritz, Sebastian, Daniel and their team to the BiV portfolio. We are looking forward to supporting them in making product development automation available globally and further growing the company.

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BMW i Ventures’ Investment in CelLink

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The automotive wire harness—the mass of cables that supply power and, in some cases, data across the electronics in the car—is the biggest and heaviest component in an electric vehicle. When completely unfurled, it can span over a few miles long. Wire harnesses are necessary connectors across ever-complexifying electronic systems in vehicles today, powering everything from the car’s radio system to its headlights.

But let’s face it. You probably haven’t thought much of automotive wire harnesses. It’s not a typical part of the car that you think of when one of the indicator lights on the dashboard goes on one morning when you’re late to work. Nor are you ever roused to ask the car salesman about all the advantages and disadvantages of this inglorious component, compelled instead by more electrifying properties like horsepower and assisted driving, the types of things you can actually brag about to your friends, if not your enemies.

And yet, the wire harness industry is big business. The market for automotive wire harnesses was $81B in 2018 and expected to reach $120B by 2025. As the electronics in the car become more complex with next-gen technologies like autonomous driving, the amount of wire harness needed per car, barring exceptions of technological innovation, will necessarily grow.

Historically, there has been little innovation in the area of wire harnesses. This inertia makes sense. Automotive brands tend to spend more money on the catchy types of things that draw in the customers. High-definition televisions baked into the back of the driver’s seat to keep junior sedated in digital wonderland. Adaptive lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control so you can down the highway at 80 mph without a care in the world. These are the types of things that build brands.

However, the times are changing. With the rise of electric vehicles, automakers are struggling to increase efficiencies across the vehicle by simplifying electronic systems and reducing the weight of the car. The wire harness has become one battleground for this effort. The rationale for this undertaking is clear. Given its massive size and volume, the wire harness is a well-known drag on vehicular efficiency. If you can reduce the weight of the wire harness or simplify its implementation, you can do things like extend the range of the car and make a more eco-friendly vehicle.

Innovation in wire harnesses has been historically and undeservedly overlooked. Until now.

We’re proud to announce our investment in the Series B financing of CelLink, a Bay-Area-based company that we believe will disrupt the wire harness industry. CelLink has developed a light-weight, highly-conductive, and low-cost flexible circuit that solves the typical pain points of traditional wire harnesses. As replacements for the traditional wire-bundle wire harnesses, CelLink’s circuits can reduce the weight of the harness by 60-80% and the volume by 70-90%. This lightened load enables not only greater vehicular efficiency but also instills in carmakers the ability to develop new, more efficient car designs unhampered by the limitations of the bulky wire bundles.

While the automotive industry has made previous efforts to investigate flex circuits as wire harness replacements, it has historically balked at the idea of actual integration of the technology full-scale across the car. The reason was due to cost concerns. In automotive, where every dollar in cost counts in building a car that averages a slim 8-10% in gross margin per unit, flex circuits historically have been too expensive. However, CelLink challenges the industry-wide inertia that has led to wire counts exploding above 2000 wires in modern vehicles. Based on its proprietary combination of manufacturing processes, designs, and materials, CelLink has developed flex circuits that finally meet the low-cost expectations of automakers, enabling the use of flex circuits for wire harness applications.

At BMW i Ventures, we’re very excited about CelLink’s revolutionary potential for the automotive industry, and we’re also enthused about the applications of CelLink’s technology across other applications in LED lighting, aerospace, and battery packs.

In this $22.5M of Series B financing, we join the Company along with new investors Franklin Templeton Ventures Partners, Fontinalis Partners, and Ford Motor Company, as well as existing investors including 3M Ventures and Robert Bosch Venture Capital. We’re extremely excited to join CelLink in this battle to turn the wire harness industry on its head.

 

 

BMW i Ventures’ Investment in Trifacta

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September 12 2019 – We are excited to announce our investment in Trifacta, the leader in data cleaning and transformation. Trifacta provides a data wrangling software platform that enables data scientists, engineers and business analysts to accelerate data projects by using machine learning to recommend and ultimately automate the range of data transformations that data users must complete to effectively “clean” the data.

With this investment, we’re betting on a demonstrated leader in the category of data preparation. Trifacta is a Forrester Wave leader and takes the number 1 ranking across all major analyst reports covering its industry.  Used by over 12,000 companies across 143 countries, Trifacta has a strong list of Fortune 500 customers including Google, PepsiCo, IQVIA, New York Life, and JPMorgan Chase, among many others.

Trifacta capitalizes on and helps accelerate the ongoing shift to the digital organization. With the rise of big data and the rise of AI-enabled automation, organizations are launching new initiatives to unlock the value of the massive amounts of data they accumulate daily. In order to do this, various data users—traditionally the loosely defined community of data engineers and data scientists—spend an estimated 80% of their time on the tedious task of cleaning and organizing the data to a state suitable for deriving analytical or process value. This is because they either must manually transform the data via clunky tools like Excel or write scripts to standardize larger bodies of data.

Trifacta accelerates the typical time spent on cleaning the data, so that data users can spend more time on tasks that drive tangible value for organizations. Trifacta’s machine-learning-powered engine provides users with automated recommendations for transformations to speed up the data wrangling process. The platform also provides users with constant visualizations of their data structures, so that they can spot inconsistencies and preview the data models as they go. The result is faster iterations on the data, and ultimately, greater organizational value derived from such data.

Our team at BMW i Ventures is excited to invest and partner with Trifacta to drive its expansion across new markets and geographies. We believe that Trifacta holds the promise to transform and accelerate how organizations derive value from their ever-growing heaps of data, truly enabling the future of the digital organization.

BMW i Ventures’ Investment in Cartica AI

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We are thrilled to announce our investment in Cartica AI. Cartica AI brings a new approach to computer vision in automotive applications, leveraging proprietary technology developed over more than 10 years.

This is the first round of financing for the newly created company, which is a spin-off from the company Cortica that has been developing computer vision based algorithms and software since 2007. While the core technology can be applied to many different use cases, Cartica AI is solely focused on the automotive industry.

A vehicle computer vision system consists mainly of three components:

  1. Sensor (e.g. camera)

  2. Chip

  3. Software (e.g. for object detection and classification)

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Cartica AI has developed software that enables vehicles to identify objects in their environment and make informed decisions. The company’s first industrialized product - “Cartex 1.0” - is a perception stack for forward facing ADAS (Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems) cameras. It provides a cost-effective alternative to the existing systems based on deep learning, and currently supports a range of applications which will play a significant role in NCAP ratings from 2020 onwards, including Automated Emergency Braking, Adaptive Cruise Control or Traffic Jam Assist.

Cartica AI introduces a breakthrough technology - the algorithm takes a fundamentally different approach in comparison to deep learning by mimicking the way in which the brain works. The same way a brain emits a neural reaction when exposed to a combination of stimuli, Cartica’s system translates visual information from cameras, LIDAR, radar and audio into highly compressed text representations, called concept signatures. Concepts within the automotive context can for example be object classes, such as pedestrians, stop signs, bicycles, lane markings, trucks etc. This process makes complex information and large amounts of data easily searchable, scalable and better organized for deeper insights.

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Cartica AI introduces a series of important technological developments for an OEM:

  • Low computing power: Cartex 1.0 requires only 0.5W of computing power to operate on  standard chips.

  • Contextual understanding: the system understands both the concepts and their context, giving it the power to predict how the surrounding objects will behave. For instance, after being fed with random traffic footage, the system can learn on its own to predict that a bus, next to a bus stop full of people waiting to get into the bus, is 99% likely to remain in that position for the next seconds. In comparison, deep learning algorithms focus on recognizing objects by their shape without context.

  • Unsupervised self-learning: the system can operate and learn in real time on its own, without requiring a tagged training set. When the system is exposed to new situations, it learns organically by comparing them to the stored signatures and finding similarities. Cartica’s AI technology creates concepts with high accuracy in a multitude of weather and lighting conditions, covering programmatically the long tail of edge cases. Deep learning systems, on the contrary, require pre-training with massive data through very manual processes and struggle under new and unfavorable conditions.

  • Predictability: the flat, hierarchical architecture of the system makes it transparent - the outcomes can be traced to their root causes and explained. This allows to easily identify and fix issues without compromising all the data collected previously. Thus, the customer can generate, improve and test any concept without the need to retrain the network. On the other side, deep learning systems are often compared to a black box and the outcomes are hardly explainable.

  • Second source: Given Cartica’s fundamentally different approach to object classification it may be used in parallel to other deep learning solutions to validate the classification and create redundancy.

  • Collaboration: Cartica’s technology is able to cooperate with other AI agents and modules, enabling knowledge sharing between vehicles and infrastructure (V2X) in an efficient way thanks to the lightweight representations.

We believe Cartica AI has the potential to become the category leader for the next generation of automotive computer vision algorithms. Cartica’s approach has a series of significant technological advantages over deep learning techniques as described above. Although it seems that the market is already populated, Cartica is the only company that is industrializing signature-based technology for ADAS systems. Our conviction in its future success is reinforced by the following:

  • By addressing mandatory NCAP requirements with a low cost, mass market solution, Cartica could offer a superior solution on the market.

  • The necessity for OEMs to validate autonomous systems’ decision making and create redundancies between sensors opens a great opportunity for Cartica to be the “second source” of truth in the perception stack. Thus, the product can be used by OEMs in parallel to other deep learning based systems following a differentiated approach.

  • Cartica AI’s ability to quickly train and retrain new concepts (objects) enables an incredibly short time to market. The need to retrain a complete deep neural net struggling to validate shortly before starting to produce a vehicle is a huge pain point.

These were the main reasons for us to invest in a company that holds great potential to become a success story. We believe Cartica AI will thus play a key role in the development of Autonomous Driving and Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS) by OEMs, allowing them to design safe and predictable vehicles that fulfill the strict requirements of the market. We are looking forward to supporting Igal and the rest of the Cartica AI team in further growing the business.

BMW i Ventures’ investment in Yellowbrick

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We are thrilled to announce BMW i Ventures’ investment in Yellowbrick, the technological leader in big data warehouse solutions. Yellowbrick helps businesses derive value from large data sets in real-time. Their unparalleled performance is based on an integrated full-stack system of hardware and software including their own database and file storage system. Our Series C financing, in partnership with fellow investors IVP, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Menlo Ventures, Google Ventures, Siemens’ Next47, Samsung Ventures, and ThirdPoint, will further accelerate Yellowbrick’s global market adoption in data warehouses, cloud, and hybrid environments.

 As investors, we are excited by the potential magnitude of the solution, and to invest in the impressive track record and technical expertise of Yellowbrick’s founding team Neil Carson (CEO) and Jim Dawson (CRO). Neil and Jim previously held executive leadership roles, as CTO and CRO respectively, at flash storage pioneer Fusion-io. They helped drive the company to an IPO and eventual successful sale for $1.2BN to SanDisk (NASDAQ: SNDK) in July of 2014.

We live in the golden era of big data, driven by Global 2000 companies increasing utilization of big data analytics to gain a competitive edge and better understanding of their customer’s needs. A recent IBM study found that 90% of all data has been created in the last two years, a mind boggling thought. A widely publicized IDC report shows that the digital universe has been roughly doubling every two years, and that by next year in 2020, the world will reach a staggering 40 trillion gigabytes of data (40 zettabytes). Companies need new ways of storing and harnessing this data so that they can convert pieces of information into powerful insights to inform mission critical real-time decisions. 

 Yellowbrick helps companies solve this massive problem, allowing customers to manage and analyse terabytes to petabytes of data on-premise, in the cloud, or as a hybrid of both. Legacy solutions developed over a decade ago, including players like Netezza, Teradata, Greenplum, and Aster Data, have faced competition from new entrants like Amazon’s Redshift and Snowflake. These cloud based solutions, often face speed challenges and cost overruns analysing large data sets at scale, so large companies needed a nextgen hybrid solution to build where first gen solutions left off. Enter Yellowbrick, which allows customers to manage their data with flexible hybrid options at speeds and price points never seen before. Customers, when describing Yellowbrick, use words like “incredible,” “transformative,” “breakthrough,” and “earth-shattering.”

It’s no big surprise then, that the company has quickly landed an impressive customer list when it came out of stealth a year ago. The list includes the world’s largest insurance company, a top 5 credit card company, the world’s largest market research company, a top 5 North American telecommunications company, a top 5 global shipping company, the world’s leading risk and legal analytics company, a leader in electronic health records, and a top 10 hospitality operator, among others. With Yellowbrick already working with some of the world’s largest customers, the company is proving the $20+ billion market for enterprise data warehouse solutions is ripe for disruption.

 Another key aspect that got us so excited about the product, is that Yellowbrick has a distinctive advantage over its competitors with their breakthrough real-time data ingestion. Historically, live data sets (for example data from sensors, telemetry, credit cards, e-commerce purchases, network logs, camera feeds, or financial fraud), faced the issue that up to the minute additional critical information would stream in, but could not be added to prior historical data sets in real-time to be included in the analysis. Instead, it would be accumulated and compiled days later. Up until now, customers often were forced to maintain two different systems – one for real-time analytics, one for long-term analytics. Yellowbrick instead allows customers to combine and run data analysis on up to the minute information in real-time, which is critical for customers who are reliant on performing mission critical operations. In our opinion, there are many Yellowbrick use cases that have never been fathomed by customers or were previously impossible to accomplish with reasonable economics to date.

On top of this, Yellowbrick delivers customers up to a 97% footprint reduction versus legacy solutions, allowing customers to save on power, management, cooling, and data center costs. Yellowbrick has developed a revolutionary new architecture focused on solid-state storage that introduces dramatic miniaturization to the data warehouse industry. Customers have seen their previous solution’s storage space shrink from six full data center racks to just six rack units (which is only 12 inches as seen below).

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We only now start exploring the potential of this groundbreaking technology. It holds the promise to completely revolutionize how large data sets like IoT sensor data in connected factories or data from autonomous vehicles can be processed. We are certain Yellowbrick will play a key role in shaping tomorrow’s world that will heavily rely on increasingly growing data sets.

Our team at BMW i Ventures is excited to invest and partner with Yellowbrick to help drive growth internationally and into new business verticals.

Life360 Completes IPO on ASX

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Life360 Co-Founders Chris Hulls and Alex Haro with members of the Life360 team at the ASX on the first day of trading (Photo: Business Wire)

SYDNEY--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Life360, Inc. (ASX: 360) is pleased to announce the successful completion of its initial public offering (IPO) of securities and that it has been admitted to the official list of the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX).

IPO Summary

The IPO was completed via an offering of Chess Depositary Interests (CDIs) over shares of common stock (Shares) in Life360 on a 3 CDIs to 1 Share basis, at an IPO price of A$4.79 per CDI (the Offer). Under the Offer, Life360 issued 23.5 million CDIs to raise A$112.7m of new capital for the Company with existing shareholders selling 6.8 million CDIs into the Offer to realise gross proceeds of A$32.8 million. Total proceeds raised were A$145.4 million. The sell-down excluded the Company’s co-founders Chris Hulls (CEO) and Alex Haro (President). The Board and key management personnel have entered into escrow arrangements which will see the majority of their holdings under trading restrictions until the release of the preliminary results of the Company for the year ended 31 December 2019. Similarly, a number of other shareholders have entered into escrow arrangements which will see trading of their holdings restricted until the release of the preliminary results of the Company for the half year ended 30 June 2019 or, in the case of The ADT Security Corporation, from 6 months from listing.

Life360 would like to thank its existing shareholders for their continued support and welcomes its new investors to the register.

This press release is not an offer of securities for sale in the United States. The CDIs may not be offered or sold in the United States absent registration or an exemption from registration.

About Life360

Life360 operates a platform for today’s busy families, bringing them closer together by helping them better know, communicate with and protect the people they care about most. The Company’s core offering, the Life360 mobile app, is a market leading app for families, with features that range from communications to driving safety and location sharing. Life360 is based in San Francisco and has more than 20 million MAU located in more than 160 countries.

Life360’s CDIs are issued in reliance on the exemption from registration contained in Regulation S of the US Securities Act of 1933 (Securities Act) for offers of securities which are made outside the US. Accordingly, the CDIs, have not been, and will not be, registered under the Securities Act or the laws of any state or other jurisdiction in the US. As a result of relying on the Regulation S exemption, the CDIs are ‘restricted securities’ under Rule 144 of the Securities Act. This means that you are unable to sell the CDIs into the US or to a US person who is not a QIB for the foreseeable future except in very limited circumstances until after the end of the restricted period, unless the re-sale of the CDIs is registered under the Securities Act or an exemption is available. To enforce the above transfer restrictions, all CDIs issued bear a FOR Financial Product designation on the ASX. This designation restricts any CDIs from being sold on ASX to US persons excluding QIBs. However, you are still able to freely transfer your CDIs on ASX to any person other than a US person who is not a QIB. In addition, hedging transactions with regard to the CDIs may only be conducted in accordance with the Securities Act.

Why Xometry will win the on-demand manufacturing market

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If you ever talk to engineers or product designers working on autonomous vehicles, space capsules, rockets or engine components, you would hear them mentioning how difficult and time consuming it is to find optimal manufacturing process for their needs. On the other hand, if you have a chance to talk to machine shops, you would feel their frustration about finding new customers and the amount of the time and energy spent responding to customer inquiries. This is exactly where Xometry comes to play. Operating its own machine shop and leveraging machine learning algorithms, Xometry has built a proprietary manufacturing platform enabling engineers and designers to tap into capacity and capabilities of a network of machine shops around the country. As soon as customers upload 3D files, they instantly get manufacturability analysis, price and expected lead times feedback. Thanks to the ample manufacturing partner network, Xometry can deliver high quality parts at a very low price with fast lead times.

Due to its unique capabilities, Xometry has quickly been able to grow its customer base. This includes cutting-edge startups to Fortune 1000 companies, such as 44% of Fortune 500 motor vehicles and parts incl. top automotive manufacturers like our parent company, BMW.

On-demand manufacturing is estimated to be a highly fragmented $70B market in the US, comprising of thousands of machine shops operating regionally and far from automation. As illustrated below, we believe that flipping the local machine shop business model into a machine-learning driven marketplace model has significant advantages such as strong two-sided network effects. The more machine shops sign up on the platform, the more variety of processes and the larger capacity Xometry can offer. At the same time, this drives the quality up and the cost down as there will be a larger set of providers with spare capacity who could take the job. Larger set of capabilities, higher capacity, top quality and lower prices attract more and more customers to the platform. This eventually attracts more and more machine shops to the platform. Every new customer and every new manufacturing partner makes the platform better for everyone involved.

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Here at BMW i Ventures, we have been fortunate to be a part of the Xometry’s success story. Since we’ve led the $15M Series B round in June 2017, the company’s achievements have been nothing short of remarkable. Back then, Xometry’s marketplace business line was nascent with only about 250 machine shops in the network, and in-house business line was still playing a significant role. Being impressed by the data-driven, world class team led by Randy Altschuler (serial entrepreneur- previously founded and sold CloudBlue and OfficeTiger) and Laurence Zuriff (previously investor at Granite Capital), we were convinced that the marketplace model could be the future of on-demand manufacturing and Xometry could play a key role. Very much in line with our projections, Xometry has been able grow its top line rapidly. At the same time, the company has managed to consistently deliver high quality parts so that it was named as a BMW Tier 1 Supplier. Additionally, Xometry acquired MakeTime, another leader in the manufacturing-on-demand space to create the single largest manufacturing partner network in the industry during the summer of 2018, while adding a very talented team led by Drura Parrish to the Xometry family. Simultaneous with the acquisition, Foundry Group led a $25M Series C round investment in Xometry, which we have participated as well. Currently, Xometry boasts an impressive network of more than 2,500 machine shops across the country with more than 700K parts quoted.

Today, we are delighted to double down and join an impressive $50M Series D funding led by Greenspring Associates along with existing investors incl. Foundry Group and Highland Capital, and new investors such as Dell Technologies Capital. Equipped with the necessary resources and great partners, we are convinced that the future of on-demand manufacturing belongs to Xometry.



Shaping the future of mobility, one child at a time: our investment in Zūm

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Roughly half a million school buses transport more than 25 million students to and from school each day in the US, where the majority of buses are still state-owned and operated. The cost of transportation has increased rapidly over years, and this results in a public expense of close to $25 billion per year. As the cost of providing bus service increases, this challenges public entities’ ability to invest in updating and upgrading bus fleets. Only 3 states across the country have fully funded their public school transportation budgets. It is estimated that there are about 250,000 school buses still on the road manufactured prior to  stringent emissions regulations took effect in 2007. Additionally, there is a significant bus driver shortage, as bus drivers holding commercial driver license can easily find better paying jobs. According to a recent survey by School Bus Fleet, 25% of respondents indicated a severe or desperate shortage while only 5% reported having no shortage of bus drivers.

While researching startups that could shape the future of mobility, we met Zūm. Zūm has built an innovative solution to save schools money and simultaneously improve parents’ quality of life. Zūm provides an asset-light, technology-driven and end-to-end on-demand mobility service for kids. The company offers 4 apps (driver, parent, kids, school) along with a school dashboard, carpool page and live support. Additionally, Zūm happens to have a high representation of women throughout all ranks, from senior management to its drivers.

Zūm developed advanced routing algorithms and machine learning models to automate efficient route creations and match drivers with rides. The rides are provided by a highly vetted group of mostly female drivers. As safety is a top priority, drivers go through a variety of fingerprinting and background checks, incl. DMV, national-level FBI, Trustline certification, and 22-point vehicle inspection.

By helping schools achieve substantial savings in their transportation budgets and creating flexibility for parents, Zūm has experienced a phenomenal traction and has grown very rapidly into several regions over the span of the last few years . Zūm’s unique business model and strong B2B focus help generate foreseeable and sticky revenue streams; while predictable ride schedules and above-market pay allow attracting a unique pool of drivers along with high retention rates.  

What is even more impressive than the amazing traction is the Zūm team. Zūm’s founder & CEO Ritu Narayan has experienced the challenges of being a working mother, where she had to plan her daughter’s commute to school. Over time, Zūm has successfully attracted key senior talent, such as Mike Brown (former Regional GM of South East Asia, at Uber) and Manik Dhar (previously Head of Sales of Americas at Google Maps), Roie Chizik (former VP of Finance at Amazon).

We are thrilled to be partnering with Zūm and leading their $40M Series C round, along with prior investors Sequoia and Spark, as well as new investors NGP, Draper Nexus, Clearvision, and Volvo!  


Zūm, a ridesharing service for kids, raises $40 million

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Ride-sharing isn’t just for transporting teenagers and adults anymore. Zūm, a ridesharing startup for kids, just raised a $40 million Series C round led by BMW i Ventures with participation from Spark Capital and Sequoia Capital. This brings the company’s total funding to $70 million.

Zūm is a mobile app that enables parents to schedule rides for their kids from fully-vetted drivers. It also partners with school districts to support their transportation needs. To date, the company has partnered with 150 school districts across the country and transported more than 500,000 students.

“Zūm has proven itself as a force to be reckoned with in a market that has a lot of untapped opportunity,” BMW i Ventures Managing Partner Ulrich Quay said in a statement. “Its leadership is strong not only because of their drive to help working families, but because they themselves have families and understand the need for better child transportation, today. We’re proud to be supporting Zūm and look forward to seeing its momentum as it continues driving funds back into schools.”

The plan with the funding is to support the increase of partnerships with schools throughout the nation. Additionally, Zūm plans to use the funding to further develop its one-stop platform technology for schools. This platform features route optimization, vehicle and quality tracking and real-time vehicle dashboards for schools.

“I’m honored to gain the support of our incredible investors who believe in what Zūm does, and our mission to build the world’s largest and safest transportation service for students,” Zūm founder and CEO Ritu Narayan (pictured above) said in a press release. “It is beyond exciting to have investors who have supported transportation, tech and marketplace startups across the globe, and to know they see in Zūm what I’ve seen since the beginning—ineffective, inefficient school transportation is a massive issue and we need to build a better future for our children.”

Zūm, however, is not the only startup tackling transportation for kids. HopSkipDrive,  a rideshare service that picks up your kids, similarly partners with school districts for school bus alternatives. In 2017, HopSkipDrive raised a $7.4 million round to bring its total funding to $21.5 million. There’s also Kango, a more Uber-like service for kids. However, you may recall Shuddle’s shutdown of its Uber-like service for kids in 2016. Shuddle had raised $12.2 million prior to shutting down. Perhaps partnering with schools and school districts is the way to go in this kid ridehailing business.

BMW i Ventures Announces Investment in Tekion

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January 10, 2019 (Mountain View, CA) – BMW i Ventures announced today an investment in Tekion, a technology provider that delivers the most modern cloud platform available for the automotive retail space. 

 

Headquartered in San Ramon, CA, Tekion was founded in 2016 by a world-class team with a unique background combining deep enterprise cloud platform understanding with automotive retail operations. Tekion comes to market with their digital Service Experience (dSE) platform, the only end-to-end digital technology for both consumers and dealership personnel that connects the entire service experience from appointment scheduling to payment and everything in-between. Thanks to a cloud-built platform with advanced machine learning and AI capabilities, Tekion can help dealers offer a personalized and seamless consumer experience.

 

"Tekion team has built a cutting-edge solution from ground up that seamlessly connects dealers, consumers and OEMs” said Dr. Ulrich Quay, Managing Director at BMW i Ventures. “We are convinced that Tekion will play a big part in the evolution of the dealer software industry, and we are thrilled to join the journey.”

 

Tekion will use the investment to expand its sales and customer support, and continue its rapid pace of product innovation.

 

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About BMW i Ventures

BMW i Ventures, BMW’s EUR 500 Mio million venture capital fund, invests money and resources in startups in the fields of autonomous driving, digital car and automotive cloud, e-mobility, artificial Intelligence and data, industry 4.0, shared and on-demand mobility, customer digital life, and energy services. The firm has already partnered with innovative companies such as Carbon3D, Chargepoint, Claroty, DesktopMetal, Graphcore, JustPark, Life360, Moovit, Nauto, Scoop, Stratim, Turo, Xometry and Zendrive. BMW i Ventures invests in all stages from seed and incubation to growth companies.

 

About Tekion

Tekion is a cloud-built platform delivering business applications that are simple, fun, cool and inherent with advanced machine learning/ AI, and Human Computer Interaction (voice, touch, vision, sensors and IoT) capabilities for a personalized and seamless consumer experience. Tekion is currently focused on delivering applications and solutions for automotive OEMs and dealers that believe in transforming the automotive retail experience. Born in California’s Silicon Valley, Tekion employs over 150 innovators globally. For more information, visit www.tekion.com  

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