BMW i Ventures has announced a strategic investment in STRIVR Labs., the world leader in using virtual reality (VR) for professional training. STRIVR was named one of Fast Company’s 50 Most Innovative Companies in the world earlier this year.
STRIVR’s enterprise-focused product is a performance training platform that uses VR and AR (Augmented Reality) to help educate and train in areas like sales, operations, customer service, safety, and HR. It is an end-to-end platform, from content capture to reporting/assessment, and the content is viewed with regular VR headsets like Oculus and Samsung GearVR. A less-immersive, lite version is also available on mobile and tablet. STRIVR uses data and assessment tools to assess learner performance, enabling organizations to make data-driven decisions about individual preparedness for critical situations.
“From the beginning, we have always been focused on human performance,” said Derek Belch, co-founder and CEO of STRIVR. “Our software and holistic VR solution helps people become better at what they do, period. Sports was a great entry point for us due to lack of time to get meaningful reps, necessity to speed up the learning curve, and the constant pursuit of the slightest edge. We proved the model in one of the toughest learning environments out there.”
BMW i Ventures was founded in New York City in 2011 under the BMW i sub-brand, alongside mobility services, as part of the strategic realignment of the BMW Group. Since its formation, BMW i Ventures has completed more than 15 successful investments in various mobility-related start-ups.
Since 2014, for example, BMW i Ventures has held a minority interest in San Francisco-based technology start-up RideCell. Since April of this year, as the systems partner of ReachNow, the BMW Group’s premium car-sharing service in the United States, RideCell has been responsible for the IT platform and all customer interfaces used for reservations and billing.
Another example is Chargepoint, headquartered in Campbell, California, which is another of BMW i Ventures’ portfolio companies. Chargepoint, with its more than 31,000 charging points, successfully cooperates with ChargeNow, the BMW Group service that provides easy access to a steadily growing network of public charging stations. In a joint project with BMW and another manufacturer, Chargepoint has also installed 95 rapid charging stations on the East and West coast of the US.
BMW i Ventures’ most recent investment, in Silicon Valley-based company Carbon3D,already reflects the venture capital unit’s expanded focus. It provides the BMW Group with the opportunity to extend its existing competence in the field of additive manufacturing technologies.