When Porsche partnered with venture studio UP.Labs, the mission was to create six startups over three years designed to solve the German automaker’s biggest problems and be attractive enough as a stand-alone business to attract other customers.
On Porsche’s list, software to help manage and automate the operation of EVs. Pull Systems, the first startup to emerge from the collaboration, has developed a software product that the two companies believe can solve it. Pull Systems, which debuted at SXSW 2023, also announced it has raised $5 million in funding led by UP.Partners.
“Cars are becoming a combination of software and battery, and ultimately battery performance,” said Kathleen Foley, president of UP.Labs. “And OEMs have to really get to a place where they can understand both of those aspects to stay competitive, because what they’re really good at is really the more commodity parts of the car.”
Pull Systems is a software-as-a-service platform that provides performance management software to EV suppliers, manufacturers and operators. The product is not a battery management software (BMS) that is technically responsible for collecting battery data and communicating with the battery management system. The startup’s software is a compliment, explained Henry Furman, former chief product officer at UP.Labs, now chief product officer at Pull Systems.
And it’s already been rolled out to the Porsche Taycan cars on the road today.
The startup has developed a library of machine learning models that can analyze and predict vehicle behavior, such as driving and charging, across Porsche’s fleet. Such information, combined with external data such as weather patterns and road conditions, can be used to predict and then notify the automaker or EV owners when a vehicle needs maintenance, when to install over-the-air software updates, and even boost after. sales revenue.
The software tracks and collects data on each vehicle in the Porsche EV fleet, which can also help identify performance issues that can be addressed with new firmware or determine the best option for a second battery life when it reaches the end of its service life, Furman added. .
Ultimately, the company wants the software to be automated using machine learning tools.
“Our real vision here, within the complexities of electrification, is for cars to actually be able to take over some of the control of their drivetrain,” Furman said. “We see a great opportunity for us to automate a lot of what is essentially rule-based type inference for these different software updates.”
For example, the software can detect a weather front coming into a certain area and issue a software update that helps optimize the batteries, he explained.
It’s a compelling prospect for Porsche, which plans to expand its EV lineup beyond the Taycan over the next few years, including the Macan in 2024, the 718 in 2025, the Cayenne and an as-yet-unannounced full-size. SUV.
Pull Systems plans to add several more automakers to its service over the next year.
UP.Labs is not a venture firm, although it emerged from and operates alongside UP.Partners. It is also not a corporate accelerator or incubator, although it builds startups and works with corporations. The company, launched during UP.Summit 2022 in Bentonville, Arkansas, is structured as a venture lab with a new kind of financial investment vehicle.
Porsche is its first corporate partner. Foley told TechCrunch that more corporate partnerships will be announced this year.
“The way our model works is we’re finding large areas of friction that touch large pools of value, and the confluence of those two things has to be in place,” Foley said. “So somebody feels acutely about the problem and it touches a lot of money, and we’re not going to look at anything outside of those two areas.”
First, the company denies the corporation to find all the problems. UP.Labs discovered the 217 in Porsche and narrowed them down to a series of problems and accompanying ideas that would solve them. An investment committee that includes UP.Labs, Porsche and UP.Partners narrows them down to the final pair that the team will begin incubating.
Under the three-year agreement with Porsche, UP.Labs will establish six companies, or two per year, with new business models focused on the automaker’s core activities, such as predictive maintenance, supply chain transparency or digital retail, according to Lutz Meschke, deputy Lutz Meschke. Chairman and Member of the Executive Board of Finance and IT, Porsche AG.