On April third, BorgWarner, a Michigan based automotive industry components and parts supplier, announced its first foray into the auto-tech venture capital space, investing 10 million dollars in Palo Alto-based investment firm Autotech Ventures. Brady Ericson, BorgWarner’s chief strategy officer, who will oversee the investment, answered written questions about the company’s motivations for entering the VC world, what technologies it hopes to gain and how such investments will influence the company’s future business model.
Why did BorgWarner make this investment?
A key factor in the decision to invest in Autotech Ventures is the fund’s ability to help BorgWarner easily adapt to the changing demands of the industry. With this investment, we gain access to global startup technologies and this knowledge allows us to be nimble in a quickly evolving industry and aware of upcoming trends.
Why invest in a third-party investment firm, rather than make direct investments?
With the investment in Autotech, we will able to review hundreds of global startups involved in the future of ground transportation. But we also plan to independently invest, collaborate and support a handful of start-up businesses.
What types of technologies are you looking for?
While we remain focused on providing industry-leading propulsion technologies, we expect this partnership to provide global access to new technologies and services, inside and outside of our core product strengths. While we look for opportunities that complement our current product portfolio (…), we are also open to something outside of our current portfolio that supports mobility trends such as ridesharing or autonomous vehicles.
Interview by Jason Booth