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BMW i Ventures Announces New $300 Million Venture Capital Fund

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BMW i Ventures has announced a new $300 million fund that will invest in early to mid-stage start-ups operating in the sustainability, transportation, manufacturing, and supply chain industries.

It'll be interesting to see who they choose to spend this money on and how it could benefit BMW's vehicles in the future.

  • In addition to advancing frontier technologies in the automotive sector, a major goal of the second fund will be to invest in companies that are driving the transition to a more sustainable future.
  • BMW i Ventures Fund I is in the top quartile of venture capital firms performance globally.
  • Marcus Behrendt and Kasper Sage will lead BMW i Ventures as Managing Partners going forward.
Mountain View, CA (June 30, 2021)… BMW i Ventures announced today the creation of a new $300 million venture capital fund with a strong focus on sustainability. The new fund will invest in early to mid-stage start-ups operating in the sustainability, transportation, manufacturing, and supply chain industries. This marks BMW i Ventures’ second dedicated investment fund, which is fully backed by BMW Group.

The creation of a new fund with a strong focus on sustainability illustrates both BMW Group’s continued commitment to BMW i Ventures as an independently operating financial VC, and reinforces the company’s commitment to sourcing and investing in environmentally friendly and sustainable technologies.

“Over the years, BMW i Ventures has provided considerable strategic value – not only to the companies it invests in, but also to the BMW Group,” said Dr. Nicolas Peter, BMW Group member of the board of management, finance. “Further, the financial success of Fund I and the collaboration between the portfolio companies and various business units of the BMW Group impressively illustrates the success of the model.”

The new fund will operate in parallel to Fund I, furthering BMW i Ventures’ mission, and increasing the firm’s ability to make new investments.

“With Fund II we will refocus our investment thesis to even better serve the needs of the ecosystem and the BMW Group as a whole,” said Marcus Behrendt, managing partner, BMW i Ventures. “Even more than before, circularity and sustainability will play a key role in our investment activities.”

Building on Success.

BMW i Ventures was established as an independent venture capital firm in 2016. The company has since invested in approximately 50 early to mid-stage startups, many of which are sustainability-focused companies including Boston Metal, ChargePoint, Prometheus, Proterra, PureCycle, Solid Power, and Turntide.

“Our goals are to invest smartly and to serve as strategic partners – both for our portfolio companies and for the BMW Group,” said Kasper Sage, managing partner, BMW i Ventures. “The performance of Fund I being in the top quartile of venture capital firms globally, is a great validation of our work.”

Of the investments made in Fund I, BMW i Ventures has enabled seven companies to go public so far.

New Leadership.

Alongside the creation of this new fund, BMW i Ventures also announced that Marcus Behrendt and Kasper Sage were named the two new managing partners of BMW i Ventures as Dr. Ulrich Quay will move into a new role at BMW Group in Munich, Germany. With the inception of Fund II, Baris Guzel was also promoted to partner.

“I’m proud of what we have built with BMW i Ventures over the years,” said Dr. Urich Quay. “With Marcus, Kasper and Baris, I am fully confident that we have the right team in place to ensure the continued success of the firm.”

Marcus Behrendt brings over 25 years of expertise in the automotive industry to this leadership position. Before joining BMW i Ventures in 2018, he worked in different management functions in research and development of the BMW Group, as a managing director for a market research company, and in various roles for another automotive OEM.

Kasper Sage has spent most of his career in Silicon Valley as a venture capital investor with previous roles in management consulting, corporate development & partnerships, as well as in working in startup operating roles.

Prior to joining BMW i Ventures in 2017, Baris Guzel worked as an investor at institutional venture capital funds and as an investment banker at top-tier investment banks.
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BMW is using some of that money to invest in Natural Fiber Welding, Inc. (NFW), "the leading creator of all-natural, plastic-free alternatives to materials such as leathers, foams, and textiles."

Mountain View, CA (July 13, 2021)… BMW i Ventures today announced an investment in Natural Fiber Welding, Inc. (NFW), the leading creator of all-natural, plastic-free alternatives to materials such as leathers, foams, and textiles. The financing round will enable the company to scale from the batch processing of materials to commercial roll-to-roll production.

NFW has developed novel technologies to replace incumbent petrochemical-based materials (e.g. synthetic leathers) and enable natural inputs to be shaped and molded into a durable, all-natural and fully recyclable leather alternative called MIRUM.

In addition to the investment by BMW i Ventures, BMW Group also announced its intention to form a strategic partnership with NFW to further its own sustainability goals. BMW Group has set ambitious sustainability targets as it aims to reduce CO2 emissions along the entire value chain. To achieve this, the company primarily seeks to make use of recyclable materials, or materials that have a lower carbon footprint, while still retaining the same high functionality, aesthetics, and premium quality.

“Natural Fiber Welding has developed an innovative process of converting plants into all-natural, 100% recyclable material that mimic all the properties of traditional leather, yarns and foams. Having a scalable, cost-competitive alternative to leather with premium qualities is key to further advancing the decarbonization of the automotive industry”, said Kasper Sage, managing partner at BMW i Ventures.

NFW is pioneering how all-natural materials can be commercially viable alternatives for animal- or petrochemical-based products.

“BMW i Ventures’ commitment to high-performance companies across the manufacturing and transportation sector makes them an excellent investor and partner for NFW,” said Luke Haverhals, founder, and CEO at NFW. “We are honored to have their support as we continue to expand into new markets, like automotive, where all-natural, performance materials can have a huge impact in decarbonizing and creating a truly sustainable future.”

Using this fundraise, NFW will scale its production to full commercial capacity and capitalize on its existing momentum to bring its alternative material to the market.
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