General Motors absorbs commercial electric vehicle unit BrightDrop, CEO leaves | TechCrunch

BrightDrop is the commercial electric vehicle subsidiary of General Motors established in 2021 and is currently being absorbed by its parent company.

General Motors said Thursday that BrightDrop – a “startup” that was spun out of the automaker’s global innovation organization and became a wholly-owned subsidiary – will become part of General Motors. BrightDrop CEO Travis Katz joins from Redpoint Ventures, where he was an entrepreneur in residence. The company confirmed that BrightDrop chief technology officer Anthony Armenta will remain in his role and will join the leadership team of General Motors’ software division led by Mike Abbott. The former vice president of engineering for Apple’s cloud services unit joined in May.

A small number of BrightDrop employees are expected to be affected by this change, as some positions will be eliminated. The company said most of those employees should be able to move to other positions within GM.

General Motors is positive about the move, noting that bringing BrightDrop into the company will benefit fleet customers by providing them with an efficient single point of contact through its new commercial brand, GM Envolve. GM EnvolveBrightDrop aims to sell an ecosystem of electric and connected products to business customers. Its first products are an electric van called the EV600 and a pod-shaped electric pallet called the EP1.

“We are committed to helping our fleet customers drive their businesses forward with our innovative commercial solutions and electric vehicle options, including the Chevrolet Bolt EV and BrightDrop,” Rory Harvey, executive vice president and president of General Motors North America, said in an emailed statement. Zevo “All of this is available through GM Envolve. This provides our customers with one-stop shopping for all their business needs. “

this BrightDrop Thoughts It was initiated by a team within Global Innovation – the internal organization that led to the creation of OnStar Insurance, OnStar Guardian and GM Defense – that was assessing the growth of e-commerce and consumer demand for online delivery, which Demand has been exacerbated by the impact of COVID-19.

When it first launched, GM touted BrightDrop’s independence and startup-like structure as assets that would allow it to move quickly and capture market share. Months after launch, Katz told TechCrunch that the data collected from these commercial electric vehicles is a lasting foundation the company can build upon. For example, logistics systems can track chain of custody, how trucks traverse routes, and how packages move to help determine deliveries. Are bottlenecks encountered and how the company can eliminate inefficiencies. “Long term, I think we see ‘this is a really exciting opportunity.’ We think of ourselves as a solutions provider, but it’s really software-centric. ” Katz says as early as 2021.

GM also has ambitious goals for BrightDrop, saying at its investor day in November that the subsidiary expects Revenue reaches $1 billion in 2023The company reported at the time that it had received more than 25,000 pre-orders and letters of interest from customers, including Walmart, Hertz and FedEx.

It’s unclear whether BrightDrop met that goal because GM hasn’t released its financial data.

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