BMW announced back in February that its sub-brand of environmentally friendly vehicles would be given the 'i' moniker. Also announced by BMW in February was the establishment called i Ventures, a venture capital company charged with developing mobility solutions for big cities. The firm is moving fast to get the project off the ground, starting with the announcement of a leader.
BMW i Ventures announced that it has named 32-year BMW Group veteran Edward Robinson as its first President. The company also announced its Advisory Board, naming Josh Rubin, Founder of Cool Hunting, as its first member.
Robinson points out that populations in mega cities continue to grow, adding "the goal of BMW i Ventures is to develop and leverage technology to further the freedom of mobility." Besides acting as president of BMW i Ventures, Robinson will also continue to serve as President of BMW Financial Services.
BMW i Ventures has already backed MyCityWay, which developed location-aware apps that give users information on public transportation, parking availability and entertainment. The apps were named one of the winners of New York City's inaugural BigApps competition, which BMW is also very involved with and has announced it will double the prize money given to any of the winners.
[Source: BMW i Ventures]
BMW i Ventures Names Edward Robinson President, Announces Plans for Setting Up an Incubator Space in New York City
Advisory Board also Established; Josh Rubin, Founder of Cool Hunting, Becomes First Member
WOODCLIFF LAKE, N.J., March 31, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- BMW i Ventures – the automaker's recently established venture capital company with an investment fund of up to $100 million to develop individual mobility solutions for the world's biggest cities – today announced Edward Robinson, a 32-year BMW Group veteran, will be President. In addition, the fund announced the planned creation of an incubator laboratory space in New York City and establishment of an expert advisory board whose purpose will be to guide decisions regarding future investments.
"As urban populations around the world increase, the goal of BMW i Ventures is to develop and leverage technology to further the freedom of mobility," said Robinson, who will assume the BMW i Ventures role in addition to his continuing service as President and CEO of BMW Financial Services, Americas Region. "We have chosen to base our operations in New York City because of its position as a center of digital media and technology and its proven commitment to furthering this industry."
These announcements come as BMW i Ventures moves into its next phase of development with New York City as its base of global operations and on the day that New York City will announce the winners of the BigApps 2.0 competition, a contest that challenged software designers to mine public data housed within New York City government to benefit the public. BMW i Ventures is a strategic partner of the BigApps initiative and will help announce the winners today. BMW Group Member of the Board Ian Robertson also sits on the jury of the BigApps competition and served on the BigApps selection committee. BMW i Ventures will double the prize money awarded to this year's winners.
Established in February of this year, BMW i Ventures is focused primarily on mobile connectivity and location-based services aimed at increasing the freedom of mobility of individuals in the world's most heavily populated urban centers. Significantly, BMW i Ventures will focus on premium mobility services – meaning that it will also look for solutions that are not exclusively related to automobiles.
The fund's first investment was in MyCityWay, a set of location-aware apps for urban navigation that provides users with information on public transportation, parking availability and local entertainment that was one of the winners of New York City's inaugural BigApps.
Beyond financial investment, the BMW i Ventures plans to establish an incubator space in its facility to further support up-and-coming companies and technology solutions.
"We had the potential to establish BMW i Ventures headquarters in a number of the world's mega cities but we chose New York City because it is one of the world's most complex and vibrant cities as well as for its sheer level of talent and creativity," said Joerg Reimann, Managing Director of BMW i Ventures. "We also credit Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the Economic Development Corporation (EDC) for creating a welcoming environment and nurturing the City's tech scene."
Also announced today was the establishment of the BMW i Ventures advisory board and Josh Rubin, principal at Captain Lucas, Inc. and founder of Cool Hunting as the first member. Rubin has been noted for his expertise on strategy, content, and design for digital products, services, and publications, specifically in mobility-user experience and consumer behavior.
"With the assets BMW brings – not just in terms of financial, but including brand recognition, market access, technological and engineering as well – BMW i Ventures is poised to become a major enabler of software-based mobile solutions for years to come," said Rubin. "There are so many companies with early-stage products that with the right amount of guidance and fostering could become the next indispensable tool for urban mobility."
All of today's announcements culminate to set a positive foundation for BMW i Ventures' future work.