Happy Anniversary to Us

 

Oh how time flies!

Back in late 2014/early 2015, Jaguar Land Rover was investigating how to work with startups in order to advance innovation within the organization as well as the automotive industry as a whole. Fast forward to the opening of the Jaguar Land Rover Tech Incubator in 2016…

… and the beginning of something that’s been truly fantastic.

It’s hard to believe that was a year ago, but it was. And wow, what an amazing year it’s been. We’ve learned, we’ve flourished, we’ve shined. We’ve gotten stronger, we’ve gotten better, and, well, we feel like there’s really no stopping us now!

As we celebrate our accomplishments and highlights during “Year One,” we thought we’d take a moment to share a view into what it’s looked for those of us here on the inside:

In our first year we’ve consumed 5,040 cups of coffee, hosted 24 “Family Dinners,” eaten 168 donuts, gone on 16 team building outings, and even taken part in a paintball adventure!

We’ve grown our Incubator staff from one person to a team of six men and women who bring knowledge, expertise, and a whole lot of laughter and excitement to our office daily.

We’ve welcomed 12 startups with 35 team members total, working on products and technologies from in-vehicle voice assistants, to state-of-the-art drones, to devices that monitor the health of your car, to programs that help consumers recoup transportation costs.

We’ve seen our startups become leaders in developing Smart City programs, partner with Nike, Reach Now, and Lyft, make appearances on Fox Business, and garner major investor interest.

We’ve had over 150 mentors around the globe offer expertise to our startups over 300 times through workshops, fireside chats, and participation in internal events.

We’ve built a program Jaguar Land Rover can be proud of.

Even more importantly, though, we’ve built a program we, the Jaguar Land Rover Tech Incubator team, are proud of.

As we look ahead at the next nine years, the future looks grand. From continuing to partner with exciting startups, to developing relationships with inspiring mentors, to building alliances with esteemed investors, we see endless opportunities to continue making our program even stronger and more valuable for startups.

Further, we’re keyed up about the possibilities for our program to help advance innovation for Jaguar Land Rover. From delving deeper into technologies like computing, connectivity, and conversational UI, as well as expanding further into the fields of autonomous vehicles, smart interfaces, and mapping, the opportunities for us to impact the future of automotive, mobility, and connected car are boundless.

Basically, what it comes down to is that our first year has been one heck of an amazing ride – and we can’t wait to go again, and again, and again. We hope you’ll stay right here with us!

– Danielle, Blake, Andrew, Madeline, Tami, and Harry  – aka The Jaguar Land Rover Incubator Team

    

 

 

Jaguar Land Rover Tech Incubator: First Class

The phenomenon of big brands working increasingly with smaller companies is a trend that’s not slowing down.

In fact, we can no longer call it a trend, or a thing that companies do to hang with the cool kids — but a survival mechanism. Corporations are fast learning that at this rate of disruption, they can no longer afford NOT to entrench ourselves with those who do disruption best: startups.

As Director of Future Technology for Jaguar Land Rover, one of my key focus areas is startup collaboration as a necessary way to bring the future into the present. At CES in January I presented not simply our own latest open-source technology (although of course that was present) but the first companies we would be working with as part of Jaguar Land Rover’s new 10-year Tech Incubator.

The Jaguar Land Rover Tech Incubator will encourage, promote, and support early-stage technology (mostly software, but not as a rule) whose products can be integrated into a car environment – and potentially instigate the next wave of connected car technology.

On stage, I introduced our three inaugural incubator companies, including BabyBit – a smart baby monitoring system that one wouldn’t immediately place into the automotive category. The Tech Incubator, and more broadly Jaguar Land Rover, is exploring and breaking the traditional boundaries of what a connected car can do. BabyBit is a prime example, with a potential car integration meaning real-time data around caretaker handoffs and the health of safety of one’s child.

We announced Urban.Systems, a new company that provides integrated, open infrastructure support for electric vehicles. This company also sits outside the norm of a singular automotive software product, and looks at the entire system around the future of electric vehicles – what infrastructure needs to be in place for any product to work? What types of public-private partnerships must be instituted, or management enabled? It is this holistic thinking that brands must be thinking about ahead of the curve, in tandem with the technologies they are building.

And finally, we introduced ParkiT – a company that does fall into the automotive category, and which provides camera-based, real-time parking data. The ingenious technology was developed by a team of Rice University grads – talent which may have been overlooked in a traditional corporate paradigm.

In the next few weeks we will be announcing the second round of companies joining the incubator.

We are lucky to help these company grow through our six-month immersive program in our new Portland, Oregon, state-of-the-art facility, where they’ll receive comprehensive support – including financing, space, and mentorship – along with Jaguar Land Rover engineering, UX, and design talent. In turn, we receive access to a diverse set of technologies making a better experience for our customers.

Production cycles have their limitations. There’s only so much a team, or a division, or a company can do in a specific period of time. Not only can startups increase the speed of learning by exponential margins, but they can offer the kind of wild creativity and diversity in thought that allows for the big breakthroughs.

Creativity amounts to nothing, though, without the health of the company propagating it. In return for fresh thinking and new innovations, a large brand can support the health and growth of small companies. With a program like an incubator, startups can obtain financing, access to talent and networks, and other resources and support they might lack without the backing, collaboration, and association of a larger institution.

It’s win-win when big brands and startups work together – and this collaborative mindset is not just exciting, it is vital to our company’s future.

 

Matt Jones
Director of Future Technology