Porsche partnership will fund 6 startups

Industry

Automakers seek every edge in the race for innovation, from investing in startups to incubating solutions in-house.

Porsche is adding a new page to that playbook — joining with a Los Angeles-based startup accelerator program to develop next-generation technologies and business models.

Porsche will partner with UP.Labs to seed six mobility startups by 2025. The companies will focus on key areas for Porsche, including digital retail, predictive maintenance and supply chain transparency, the automaker said in a statement Tuesday.

“We want to strengthen our existing, broad-based startup ecosystem with an external growth engine,” Porsche AG CFO and IT boss Lutz Meschke noted.

Through UP.Labs, Porsche can secure access to international talent and their know-how to enhance Porsche’s position in the “current transformation phase of the automotive industry in the long term,” Meschke said.

As part of the deal, Porsche will take a minority stake in the startups, with the option to acquire them after three years.

Ventures such as UP.Labs also give established corporations access to a startup culture while giving the fledgling companies some of the larger enterprise’s product development, marketing and financial resources.

“The concept combines the advantages of free startup development on the market … with the direct involvement of our employees and a close link to Porsche,” Meschke said.

UP.Labs, led by founder and CEO John Kuolt and President Katelyn Foley, is being launched alongside UP.Partners, which announced its inaugural venture capital fund in October and has $250 million under management. The venture fund will invest in the startups that UP.Labs creates.

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