GM Ventures Aims to Ensure Parent’s Future By Investing in the Best Automotive Startups: Q&A With President Jon Lauckner

12/2/10Follow @bbuderi

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to either lead or co-invest with other venture capital firms, but always as a minority investor. The value we can add comes not only from the funding we provide to start-ups, but also with the understanding that we want to be a customer of technology being developed by the start-up company. The concept of not only being an investor, but also a customer, is a unique source of value that GM Ventures offers for start-up companies that we invest in.

X: Tell us about what you have funded so far, and why.

JL: We’ve closed two investments since we were formed about four months ago, and I expect a couple of others to close in the near future. Our investments to date have been have been:

Bright Automotive—GM Ventures invested $5 million. Bright is developing a light-weight, plug-in hybrid commercial van. In addition to our investment, we expect that we will finalize a commercial agreement in which Bright will use a GM powertrain and other components in their vehicle.

Sakti3—GM Ventures invested $3.2 million. Our investment in Sakti3 gives us access to an innovative battery technology that has the potential to be a mainstream solution for electrically driven cars and trucks of the future.

X: Are you limited to the fund size you currently have, the way a traditional venture fund would be, or can you tap corporate coffers for more funds if necessary?

JL: The first year of funding for GM Ventures was set at $100 million with the understanding that we will assess the funding for future years based on … Next Page »

Bob is Xconomy's founder and editor in chief. You can e-mail him at bbuderi@xconomy.com, call him at 617.500.5926. Follow @bbuderi

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