• Tom Whitehouse

CVC-backed mobility, auto & travel innovation: Case study 3 – BP Ventures

This is an excerpt from ‘Corporate Venturing and the Future of Mobility, Automotive and Travel’, a new report from Global Corporate Venturing and LEIF, which is sponsored by BP VenturesDenso International America, and JetBlue Technology Ventures.

BP Ventures’ MD, Akira Kirton, and JetBlue Technology Ventures’ president, Bonny Simi, are among the speakers at GCV’s annual symposium in London next month.

Corporate venture capital (CVC) serves its portfolio businesses best when it increases their proximity to customers and thereby accelerates their commercial success. When CVCs from different industries co-invest and collaborate, the positive impact is multiplied proportionately.

The diagram below highlight some examples from BP Ventures’ portfolio (FreeWire, Peloton, Zubie) of collaboration among CVCs from different industries.

FreeWire, a manufacturer of mobile rapid charging systems for electric vehicles, received $5m in January this year from BP, which will trial its technology at selected retail sites in the UK and Europe. BP’s investment was part of a $13.33 million Series A1 venture funding, which was led by Stanley Ventures, the venturing subsidiary of Stanley Black & Decker, the US power tool business. In the summer of 2017, BP was the sole investor in the $20m Series B round of Beyond Limits, an artificial intelligence (AI) and cognitive computing company, which is commercialising software from NASA, the US space agency, and the US Department of Defence (software that was used in the Mars Rover exploration).

Meghan Sharp, managing director, BP Ventures – Americas

“FreeWire is a great example of the type of investment we want to make. It’s the market leader in mobile fast charging for electric vehicles. It’s going to be trialled on our forecourts. We’ll learn a lot. FreeWire will learn a lot. BP has the ability to scale FreeWire.”

“Beyond Limits is genuinely cognitive. It’s not just deep learning … It is looking at mobility with BP and other partners.”

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