Australian vehicle valuation and auction company Pickles has announced the launch of Pickles Ventures, an innovation arm which will focus on incubating early-stage startups with ideas that align with the company’s goals.
The ventures division will be supported by $10 million from Pickles, with the incubator set to focus on giving selected startups the chance to leverage the company’s lengthy experience in the automotive sector.
Startups will also be able to tap into Pickles’ wide resources base, helping them create new offerings which benefit the vehicle industry.
Simon Meyrick, who is overseeing Pickles Ventures as General Manager, said the new division would be part of the company’s push to accelerate its growth for the future.
“As we collaborate with companies, both here and overseas to launch new products and businesses, we continue to drive a fully-integrated model with innovation at its core. This new capability in our business is a platform to drive our future growth at scale and speed,” he said.
Falling under the new innovation arm at launch are four startups which have been co-branded by Pickles, including Datium Insights, a platform which leverages vehicle sale data and market trends to help inform buying and selling decisions, as well as CarZapp, a car sales app geared for release next month.
Also joining the lineup are Iungo, a cost management platform for vehicles, and PicklesAsia, a Malaysian-based startup servicing the South East Asia region with auction management software and services.
Speaking about the innovation division, Bruce Maclennan, Pickles’ CEO, said the company is looking to embed new technology into its auction process, and find ways to diversify its revenue base while broadening market reach.
“For over 50 years, Pickles has forged a reputation for being entrepreneurial, and innovation remains at the heart of our business. We are building relationships and supporting Aussie-owned and Asian-based startups who value our expertise and will assist us in continuing to create trusted marketplaces. Ultimately, we want to find simple solutions to our customers’ problems,” he said.
Pickles is the latest company in the automotive industry to introduce a division focused on innovation, with global brands including BMW looking to startups as a path to drive new solutions.
BMW launched the BMW Startup Garage in early 2015, which looks to support startups working with technologies which can contribute to the company’s digital services, factories, systems and physical vehicles through an internal accelerator program.
Looking to make a splash in the autonomous vehicle market, last month also saw Toyota launch an $100 million artificial intelligence-focused venture capital fund.
The fund has already invested in three startups, including US startup Nauto, which is developing driverless car technology, and SLAMcore, which is building mapping algorithms backed by AI.