This round of cash injection will help the group fast-track its EV development.
The current race to electric mobility can be compared to the gold rush of the 1800s, but rather than it just being a means to get obscenely wealthy, the shift away from internal combustion engines is also believed to be crucial for the sake of the planet's longevity. If manufacturers want to maintain relevancy in Europe, they'll also need to clean up their act to adhere to the stringent emissions regulations which are pretty much impossible to meet with an unassisted internal combustion engine.
Here in the USA, the continually increasing cost of gas is proving to be a huge motivator for electrified products. This has prompted a good few manufacturers to pick up the pace on EV development which is something that we've noticed with the Stellantis group who currently manages Chrysler, Jeep, Ram, and Dodge among a plethora of other brands internationally.
In a bid to cover as many bases as possible, Stellantis is ready to use funds from a venture capital fund as part of its Dare Forward 2030 business plan to invest in early and late-stage startups that focus on digitalization and electrification. The group's head of venture capital, Adam Bazih explained to the Detroit Free Press that Stellantis is "ready to deploy and go ASAP."
Using some funds from the recently announced $329 million venture capital fund, the group will dedicate its investments to companies that have the bones to become financially sustainable and customer-focused. Bazih says, "Ultimately, it's about better enabling us to service the customer needs. I think that's success at the end of the day."
These startups will be crucial in Stellantis's goal of improving everything from sales across the global market to enhancing its technologies. An onslaught of fully electrified products is due to follow-up the existing Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe and company. This includes the thrilling EV muscle car replacements for the Dodge Charger and Challenger, the already previewed electric Jeep, Ram 1500 EV, and more.
Explaining how startups will be identified, Bazih adds, "Does their technology eventually make its way to the customer? Is it a new piece of technology that goes onto a vehicle or perhaps a whole new type of industry or way of thinking or way of interacting with a customer that ultimately makes its way into the customer's hands? It's something that adds value for them from kind of a purchase perspective."
Bazih confirms that Stellantis already has an idea of which startups it wants to pour money into but some inquiries have been received via its web portal. Moving forward, a more formal submission process will be implemented to streamline the strategy. This first group of recipients could benefit from a cash injection anywhere from $500 to $5 million.
Bazih says that the second phase will dedicate even more money with a possible allocation of up to $20 million per startup. He adds that the group is eyeing fresh or risky companies who have a "great proof of concept or maybe a great business model or idea." It will also be investing in grounded operators that want to evolve to the stage of dealing with suppliers or carmakers.