Pull Systems has launched an Up.Labs-Porsche partnership to deal with electric vehicle performance

When Porsche partnered with Venture Studio up. labsThe task was to create six startups over three years, all designed to solve the German automaker’s biggest problems and be compelling enough as a standalone business that could attract other customers.

On the Porsche list: software that helps manage and automate the performance of electric vehicles. Pull Systems, the first startup that resulted from the partnership, has developed a software product that both companies say can be solved. Unveiled at SXSW 2023, Pull Systems has raised $5 million in a seed round led by UP.Partners.

“Cars are becoming a combination of software and battery—and ultimately battery performance,” said Caitlin Foley, president of UP.Labs. “And OEMs need to really get to a place where they can understand both sides in order to stay competitive, because the things they’re really good at are actually the most commodified parts of a car.”

Pull Systems is a software as a service platform that provides performance management software to electric vehicle suppliers, manufacturers and operators. The product is not a battery management software (BMS), which is technically responsible for collecting data about the battery and communicating with the battery management system. Henry Foreman, former head of product at UP.Labs and now chief product manager at Pull Systems, explained the startup’s program as a compliment.

It has already been introduced to the Porsche Taycans 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 the Porsche fleet. This type of information, along with external data such as weather patterns and road conditions, can be used to predict and then inform the auto manufacturer or EV owners when a vehicle will need servicing, when to deploy over-the-air software updates and even boost after-sales revenue.

Foreman added that the software tracks and collects data on every vehicle in the Porsche EV fleet, which can also help identify performance issues that can be resolved with new firmware or determine the best option for a battery’s second life when it reaches the end of its life. .

Ultimately, the company wants the software to be automated using machine learning tools.

“Our real insight here, within the complexities of electrification, is that cars are actually able to take over some of the management of their propulsion system themselves,” Foreman said. “We see a great opportunity for us to automate a lot of what is essentially kind of rule-based inferences for these different software updates.”

For example, the software might identify a weather front coming to a specific area and release a software update that helps optimize batteries, he explained.

That’s a compelling prospect for Porsche, a company that plans to expand its electric vehicle lineup beyond the Taycan over the next several years, including the Macan in 2024, the 718 in 2025, and the Cayenne and A The full-size SUV has yet to be named.

Pull Systems plans to add several more automakers to its service over the next year.

Up.Labs connection

UP.Labs is not a venture company, although it originated and operates in parallel with UP.Partners. It’s not an accelerator or incubator either, though it does build startups and work with companies. The company launched during Summit 2022 In Bentonville, Arkansas, it was designed as a project lab with a new kind of financial investment tool.

Porsche is its first partner. Foley told TechCrunch that more corporate partnerships will be announced this year.

“The way our model works is to identify large friction areas that touch pools of significant value, and the confluence of those two things needs to be in place,” Foley said. “So someone feels the problem acutely and touches a lot of money — and we wouldn’t consider anything outside of those two areas.”

At first, the company dissects the company to find all the problems. UP.Labs identified the 217 in Porsche and narrowed it down to a set of associated problems and ideas that would solve them. An investment committee comprising UP.Labs, Porsche and UP. The partners narrow them down to the final pair that the team will start cuddling with.

Under a three-year agreement with Porsche, UP.Labs will create 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 vice president Lutz Meschke. Chairman and member of the Executive Board of Porsche AG for Finance and Information Technology.

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