The rest of the 100 (in alphabetical order): Ulrich Quay, BMW

Ulrich Quay, managing partner of Germany-based car maker BMW’s newly-independent BMW i Ventures corporate venturing unit, has had a busy few years.

Before setting up BMW i Ventures, Quay was senior legal counsel for mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures at BMW, having joined its law department in 2000 after being a top-decile student at University of Freiburg.

BMW i Ventures has invested in 28 companies since 2011, including 16 since 2016 when it raised a €500m ($550m) fund from BMW as sole limited partner on the understanding BMW i Ventures had full autonomy over investment decisions, according to Quay.

Its deals so far this year have included BMW i Ventures lead a $15m round for Sweden-based street-level mapping technology developer Mapillary, an $18m series B round for US-based light detection technology developer Blackmore Sensors and Analytics and US-based shuttle transport technology developer May Mobility’s $11.5m seed round, while also joining the $50m series D round for Israel-based urban mobility app developer Moovit.

Last year’s deals included Desktop Metal, which secured $45m in February 2017 from GV, Lowe’s Ventures and BMW i Ventures at a $340m valuation.

The fund has also seen money flow back in with exits, including Embark acquired by Apple in 2013, Humin acquired by Tinder in 2016, and, both this year, Stratim (formerly known as Zirx) acquired by KAR Auction Services and Skurt acquired by Fair.

In addition, in January BMW acquired US-based parking space booking service and portfolio company Parkmobile for an undisclosed amount after I Ventures invested an undisclosed amount in 2014, the year after the company raised $6.3m from BCD Holdings, Bluefield Investments and Fontinalis Partners, the venture capital firm co-founded by motoring corporate Ford’s executive chairman, Bill Ford.

Parkmobile’s platform enables motorists to hire car parking bays through a mobile app which has more than 8 million registered users. It connects with a number displayed near the space and can collect payment using online mechanisms such as Visa Checkout or PayPal.

Like independent VC funds, this one, based in Luxembourg, has a performance pay scheme – called carried interest – for principals and partners. The team has grown from three in 2015 to 11 at the beginning of 2017, including the hire of Zach Barasz from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers as partner, although Christian Noske, a GCV Rising Star 2017 winner, left to join multi-corporate backed fund Alliance Ventures.

The bigger fund came with a broader investment mandate, ranging from mobility to general automotive and transportation, Quay added with its deals crossing seven subsectors. However, the fund has retained its ability to support business unit partnerships and development with portfolio companies. Quay noted Ridecell software was running car sharing operations in US (ReachNow), BMW was building a high power charging network with Chargepoint in the US and sourcing parts for plant Spartanburg via Xometry’s X platform, while Strivr was offering virtual reality (VR) training for plant workers.