Porsche teamed up with venture studio UP.Labs, whose mission was to create six startups in three years, all of which could solve German automakers’ biggest problems and create independent businesses that could attract other customers.
On the Porsche List: Software to help manage and automate the performance of EVs. Pool Systems, the first startup from the partnership, has developed a software product that the two companies say can solve it. Pool Systems, which announced at SXSW 2023, also announced that it has raised $5 million in a seed round led by UP.Partners.
“Cars are becoming a combination of software and battery – and ultimately battery performance,” said Caitlin Foley, president of UP.Labs. “And in order to remain competitive, OEMs need to get to a point where they can understand both aspects because the best parts are the car parts.”
Pull Systems is a software as a service platform that provides performance management software for EV suppliers, manufacturers and operators. The product is not battery management software (BMS), which is technically responsible for collecting information about the battery and communicating with the battery management system. The startup’s software is a compliment, explained Henry Furman, former head of venture product at UP.Labs and now chief product officer of Pool Systems.
And it’s already been rolled out to Porsche Taycan vehicles on the road today.
The startup has developed a library of machine learning models that can analyze and predict vehicle behavior across Porsche’s fleet, such as driving and charging. That kind of data, combined with external data such as weather conditions and road conditions, can be used to inform the automaker or EV owners when a vehicle needs maintenance, and when to deploy software updates over the air, and then add-on sales revenue.
The software monitors and collects data on every vehicle in Porsche’s EV fleet, which can identify performance issues that can be fixed with new firmware or determine the best second-life option when the battery reaches the end of its life, Furman added. .
Ultimately, the company wants the software to be automated using machine learning tools.
“Our real vision in the complexity of electrification is that the cars will be able to manage some of their own demand systems,” Furman said. “We see a huge opportunity for us to automate a lot of things that are compliant with the rules for these different software updates.”
For example, he explained, the software could detect incoming weather in a particular area and issue software updates to help optimize batteries.
That’s a compelling prospect for Porsche, which plans to expand its EV lineup beyond the Macan in 2024, the 718 in 2025, the Cayenne and an as-yet-unnamed full-size Taycan. SUV
Pull Systems plans to add several more automakers to its service over the next year.
The connection of Up.Labs
Although UP.Labs operates in parallel with UP.Partners, it is not a venture firm. Although it is building startups and working with corporates, it is not a corporate accelerator or incubator. Launched at UP.Summit 2022 in Bentonville, Arkansas, the company is structured as a venture lab as a new financial investment vehicle.
Porsche is the first corporate partner. More corporate partnerships will be announced this year, Foley told TechCrunch.
“The way our model works is to identify large conflicts that affect large value pools, and what needs to be in place is a combination of the two,” Foley said. “So someone feels the problem very carefully and has invested a lot of money – and we don’t consider anything outside of these two areas.”
Initially, the company divides the corporation to find all the problems. UP.Labs has taken apart the Porsche 217’s superiors and turned them into various problems and associated ideas. The investment committee, which includes UP.Labs, Porsche and UP.Partners, will finalize the team’s incubator.
Under the three-year agreement with Porsche, UP.Labs will establish six companies, or two a year, with new business models focused on the automaker’s core functions such as predictive maintenance, supply chain transparency or digital retail, said deputy Lutz Meschke. Chairman and Member of the Executive Board of Porsche AG on Finance and IT.
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