Torsten Gollewski (l) is CEO of Zukunft Ventures. ZF CEO Sommer is on the right (Photo: ZF)

ZF Friedrichshafen has founded a venture capital unit that can provide funding to startups and other businesses that are developing technologies that could be of interest to the large southern-German automotive supplier.

ZF said the new unit, which is called Zukunft Ventures GmbH, will identify and invest in startups as well as companies that have already been established but need a strong partner. Zukunft is the German word for future.

“Zukunft Ventures GmbH will help us fill technological gaps faster and tap new business segments,” ZF CEO Stefan Sommer said in a press statement.

Sommer noted that ZF already offers a range of autonomous driving technologies, but he added that, to stay competitive, the company needs access to innovative new technologies quickly.

“Zukunft Ventures are a flexible and quick tool that enables companies to keep up the pace of innovation,” he said.

The new investment company doesn’t dole out fixed amounts of money to startups. Depending on how interesting it deems a company to be, Zukunft Ventures can invest less or more capital.

Zukunft Ventures also has no technological or geographical restrictions.