US: BMW invests in a carpooling service image

The German premium automaker has announced this week a “strategic investment” in Scoop Technologies, a software company that offers a carpooling mobile application called Scoop.

Scoop app has been launched in 2015 initially being available in Pleasanton, California, for now to operate commute trips and to connect people in San Francisco, Palo Alto, Sunnyvale and North San Jose. Scoop’s partners have more than 200,000 commuters in the Bay Area, while the employers’ network includes some of the area’s largest companies such as Cisco, Microsoft, Salesforce, Workday, Airbnb, Tesla or Sandisk. BMW has not disclosed the scale of the investment made through its “i Ventures” venture capital unit, but such moves are becoming mainstream in the automotive industry, as global carmakers are speeding up their efforts to expand their business.

“Scoop’s carpooling offer is a great help for urban traffic and parking problems in cities, but it also enables employers in finding and supporting sustainable transportation solutions for their employees,“ Ulrich Quay, Head of BMW i Ventures, said. “Through this investment, BMW Mobility Services and Scoop together could offer a practical carpooling solution to a problem facing cities, starting here in the US.”

BMW has lately made other similar exploratory steps into mobility services, such as launching a car sharing programme in Seattle in April. Earlier this week, Toyota and Uber have entered into a ride-sharing partnership, while Volkswagen has taken a stake in the Israel-based taxi-sharing firm Gett.