The rest of the 100 (in alphabetical order by company): Christian Herrmann, Daimler
Christian Herrmann, director of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) technology and venture at Germany-based car maker Daimler, has spent the past 18 months leading its worldwide innovation investment activities and covering all investments in startups, mobility and tech as well as venture fund commitments. His deals in this time have already included more than half a dozen acquisitions and 32 investments with aggregate rounds of more than $1bn.
Daimler’s divisions cover Mercedes-Benz, Daimler Trucks, Mercedes Benz Vans, Daimler Buses and Financial Services (DFS) strategies and the sweep of Herrmann’s activities is suitably broad given he had already spent 13 years at the group before becoming director in November 2016.
His deals last year included this year leading a $30m round for Germany-based startup Volocopter, which is developing a small electric helicopter with multiple rotors. Daimler’s innovation unit, now called Lab1886, will work with Volocopter to develop a urban air taxi service, according to Daimler, while Florian Reuter, CEO of the portfolio company, in an interview this month described how the car maker’s manufacturing skills could help it scale up as it passes regulatory hurdles.
In January last year Mercedes-Benz Vans invested in autonomous delivery robots developer Starship Technologies’ €16.5m convertible note. The two companies had already introduced the so-called mothership concept back in September 2016 of a van with those of an autonomous delivery robot.
In February, Daimler Financial Services invested an undisclosed amount in AutoGravity, a US-based comparison app for buying and financing vehicles founded in late 2015 as part of a national rollout across 46 states in the US.
In March, ChargePoint, a US-based electric vehicle (EV) charging network already backed by BMW’s corporate venturing unit, raised an initial $82m led by Daimler to fund its expansion into Europe. And Tiramizoo, a Germany-based delivery optimisation startup, raised an undisclosed amount in a round led by oil major Shell’s ventures unit with co-investment from Daimler.
In July, China-based self-driving car software developer Momenta raised a $46m series B round led by NIO Capital and including Shunwei Capital, Sinovation Ventures, Unity Ventures and Daimler. The same month, CleverShuttle, a Germany-based on-demand ridesharing startup, raised an undisclosed amount from Daimler Buses and its subsidiary, EvoBus.
Similarly, in the US, Daimler invested $50m as part of a joint venture with Via to help it expand its app into Europe so passengers headed in the same direction are matched with a single van, The investment is part of the Daimler strategy “CASE” covered connectivity (Connected), autonomous driving (Autonomous), flexible use and services (Shared and Services) and electric drive systems (Electric).
In September, Daimler Trucks led a $60m round for Israel-based fast-charging battery technology provider StoreDot.
Its biggest deal of the year in aggregate round size was Careem, a transportation startup currently in 80 cities across the Middle East, which raised another $150m in June to close a $500m series E round led by Saudi-based Kingdom Holding and Daimler.
On acquisitions, Daimler Financial Services continued to expand its digital portfolio by buying Luxembourg-based PayCash Europe to become the new ‘Mercedes pay’ brand name.
One example of its roll-up strategy is in ride-hailing. Mytaxi was founded in the summer of 2009 by the Hamburg, Germany-based startup Intelligent Apps. At the beginning of 2012, Daimler joined as an investor and completely took over the operator of Mytaxi in the autumn of 2014. It then merged Mytaxi and Hailo in 2016, before Mytaxi acquired the Greece-based provider Taxibeat in February 2017 for a reported €43m and then Romania-based ride hailing app Clever Taxi in the summer. Daimler also acquired dynamic ridesharing pioneer Flinc, while Daimler Mobility Services acquired a majority stake in France-based Chauffeur Privé at the end of the year.
Daimler Mobility Services also co-led US-based peer-to-peer (P2P) carsharing company Turo’s $92m round and combined its own Daimler peer-to-peer carsharing platform, Croove, with the US company to serve as the basis for Turo to enter the German market this year.
At the back end, in August, Moovel Group, a subsidiary of Daimler providing the operating system giving access to various mobility services such as MyTaxi, acquired all of peer Familonet based in Hamburg.
Even with such activity, Herrmann said it spent time on business unit partnerships and development with portfolio companies. Beyond the above examples, he mentioned the integration of What3words technology in the Mercedes-Benz A Class cars, the development of personal mobility behaviour service EQ Ready App with Anagog and joint ventures with several original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) on a connectivity solution to electric charging infrastructure called Hubject.