The BMW brand sees huge potential in the inventive talent behind many start-ups. With his BMW Startup Garage in Munich, Gregor Gimmy aims to take innovative technologies from select fledgling companies and integrate them into BMW vehicles as quickly as possible.
- Hendrik Lakeberg
“The BMW Startup Garage seeks to reinforce and accelerate the BMW Group’s ability to innovate,” explains Gregor Gimmy, one of the people at the BMW Group responsible for the project. Start-ups have tremendous potential, and some of them are highly skilled in new technologies that are of key interest to the BMW Group.
The Startup Garage was set up to tap into this innovation potential in a more efficient way. Gimmy and his team comb the world looking primarily for fledgling companies that already have the necessary capital and have produced a prototype of their technology. The focus, needless to say, is on technologies that are usable in the car, such as innovations in machine learning and electric mobility.
Instead of buying equity in the companies, the BMW Group acquires the start-up’s technologies at a very early stage, with the aim of incorporating them into development and products for the various BMW Group brands. “The faster a technology is integrated into the car, the better,” Gimmy points out. This also prompted the decision to base the Startup Garage in Munich with the relevant decision-makers close by, thereby enabling the technology to be tested as quickly and efficiently as possible.
“The faster a technology is integrated into the car, the better.”
The start-ups work directly with engineers from the BMW Group on a day-to-day basis. This is done mostly at the BMW Group Research and Innovation Center (FIZ), or at the Startup Garage site in Garching to the north of Munich. “We wanted to create a cool location where start-up firms would really feel at home,” says Gimmy. “Being able to stage events there was also important to us. So why not drop by and take a look!”