Pull Systems launches from Up.Labs-Porsche partnership to tackle electric vehicle performance

When Porsche teamed up with adventure studio Up.Labsthe mission was to create six startups in three years, all designed to solve the German carmaker’s biggest problems and convincing enough as an independent business could attract other customers.

On the Porsche list: software that helps manage and automate the performance of electric vehicles. Pull Systems, the first startup to emerge from the partnership, has developed a software product that the two companies say can solve that problem. Pull Systems, which launched at SXSW 2023, also announced that it has raised $5 million in a seed round led by Up.Partners.

“Automobiles are becoming a combination of software and battery — and ultimately battery performance,” said Up.Labs President Katelyn Foley. “And OEMs need to really understand both of those aspects to stay competitive, because the things they’re really good at are actually the more commodity parts of the car.”

Pull Systems is a software as a service platform that provides performance management software to EV vendors, manufacturers and operators. This product is not battery management software (BMS), which is technically responsible for collecting battery data and communicating with the battery management system. Henry Furman, a former product manager at UP.Labs who is now a product manager at Pull Systems, explains that the startup’s software is a compliment.

And it has already been deployed to the current Porsche Taycan cars on the road.

The startup has developed a library of machine learning models that can analyze and predict vehicle behavior such as driving and charging across the entire Porsche fleet. That kind of information, along with external data like weather patterns and road conditions, can be used to predict and then notify automakers or electric vehicle owners when the vehicle needs servicing. maintenance, when to deploy software updates over-the-air 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 resolved with new firmware or identify age preferences Second best battery life when the battery is nearing the end of its life, Furman adds.

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

“Our real vision here, in the complexity of electrification, is cars that can actually manage some of their own propulsion,” says Furman. “We see a great opportunity for us to automate a lot of things that are essentially the kind of rule-based conclusions for these various software updates.”

For instance, the software can identify a weather front entering a certain area and issue a software update that optimizes the battery, he explains.

It’s an attractive prospect for Porsche, a company that 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 Unnamed large SUV.

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

Connect Up.Labs

Up.Labs is not a joint venture, although it appears and operates in tandem with UP Partners. It is also not an accelerator or business incubator, although it is building startups and working with corporations. The company was established in Reach the top in 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 of the company’s partnerships will be announced this year.

“The way our model works is that we identify large areas of conflict that are associated with large value pools, and that is where the confluence of those two things has to be done,” says Foley. “So someone feels the issue deeply and it involves a lot of money — and we’re not going to look at anything outside of those two areas.”

Initially, the company dissected the corporation to find any problems. UP.Labs has identified 217 problems at Porsche and broken them down into a series of problems and accompanying ideas for solving them. An investment committee includes UP.Labs, Porsche and Up Partners, narrowing them down to the final pair the team will begin incubating.

Under a three-year agreement with Porsche, UP.Labs will create six companies, or two a year, with new business models focused on the automaker’s core activities such as predictive maintenance. predictive, transparent, supply chain or digital retail, according to Lutz Meschke, vice president and executive board member of Porsche AG for finance and IT.


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