Start-ups in the German automotive sector are increasingly attracting investment. Since 2011, 127 young companies have generated $ 316 million in investment, according to an analysis by management consultant Oliver Wyman. The established automakers are increasingly active as investors. With the know-how transfer, the OEMs also want to fend off the attacks of new market participants, such as the switching service Uber or the electric car pioneer Tesla, who want to redefine business models along the entire value chain.
Smart parking search, congestion forecasts, gasoline-saving coach – with new services, car manufacturers want to take care of their buyers. The underlying solutions for more comfort, safety and efficiency were often developed by start-ups. However, car manufacturers are not only gaining access to technical innovations through equity interests – integrated services are far more important. Through apps, the start-ups also create new interfaces to the customer, which the OEMs want to access, according to the authors of the study.
In order to prepare themselves for the business areas of the future, established carmakers are getting closer to the start-ups, according to Oliver Wyman’s analysis. Although the number of start-ups in the automotive sector is declining slightly internationally, the start-ups could look forward to a rapidly growing financial commitment. Worldwide, investment levels have grown exponentially over the past four years, according to the authors of the study. Start-ups attracted around $ 16.3 billion in the first half of 2016 alone, slightly more than the year before ($ 16.1 billion). In addition to car manufacturers, IT companies such as Apple or investment banks also invested in the mobility industry.
The current financing boom has followed the founding wave since the beginning of the millennium. Since the year 2000, according to the analysis in the automotive industry, more than 1,000 companies worldwide have emerged. According to the Oliver Wyman study, automobile start-ups attracted over $ 50 billion in capital worldwide. However, 60% of these were accounted for by only five young companies. With Uber and Lyft (both US), DiDi (China) and Ola (India), four of them are mediation platforms. As the only representative of a Green Vehicle technology, the electric car specialist Tesla (USA) is represented in the Top Five. In Germany, there is only one unicorn with the start-up Auto1 Group, ie a company with a value of more than EUR 1 billion.
Germany is ahead of France and India in terms of new start-ups in the automotive industry, but still behind China, the USA and the United Kingdom. Since 2011, 127 start-ups have invested USD 316 million in this country. 45% of this went to young companies offering mobility services. Almost the same amount went to founders in the more capital-intensive green vehicle segment – these include, for example, vehicles with electric or fuel cell drive. Since fewer start-ups are active here, the founders received on average four times as much capital as the mobility service providers. For green vehicle technologies, German OEMs have mainly relied on their own competence in research and development. The hurdles for newcomers are correspondingly high.
Thanks to their financial strength, German OEMs are among the most important investors in automotive start-ups, such as Daimler with the Startup Autobahn or BMW with I Ventures. The initial trend towards trial and error in comparatively cheap investments in young providers of mobility services has meanwhile subsided, according to the authors of the study. The money will no longer be distributed with the watering can, but invested specifically in future-oriented solutions. According to the forecast by Oliver Wyman, Mobility revenues could triple around the world by 2025. The majority of automotive start-ups are active in this segment. In Germany too, most founders are focusing on mobility services (60%), followed by solutions for connected and autonomous vehicles (14%), green vehicles (14%) and aftersales (12%).