ZF Ventures
ZF Ventures ZF Ventures

Building the Future of Mobility through Ecosystems and Partnerships

ZF Ventures is the Corporate Venture Capital entity of ZF. We generate strategic value by combining ZF's extensive know-how, capabilities & resources with cutting-edge technology & business model innovations from the startup ecosystem. Our main objective is to initiate collaboration and establish successful long-term partnerships between world-class startups and ZF so we can build the next generation of mobility together.

Why you should work with us

Scaling opportunities & use cases for your technology solutions & business models across an extensive product & service portfolio in multiple industries:

ZF is a global technology leader supplying systems & solutions for the mobility of people, transport of goods and a wide array of industrial applications.

Numerous application scenarios for your technologies:

ZF follows an integrated systems approach, combining hardware, software, data & digital services into holistic end-to-end mobility solutions.

Broad market access potential for your solutions:

ZF supplies a large global customer base of established OEMs and an increasing portfolio of new mobility customers in the private and public sector.

Access to leading experts, deep know-how and profound capabilities & experience on how to validate, industrialize and scale your solutions:

ZF can leverage its global presence, access the know-how of ~160.000 employees and over 100 years of automotive grade industrialization experience.

What you can expect from us

1. We are thrilled about inventing the future of mobility

2. We believe that success can only be achieved in partnerships & ecosystems

3. We live TOFU (Take Ownership & Follow Up) and are easy to do business with

4. We aim to empower everybody we interact with

Our Focus

We are looking for world-class startups across all stages and geographies that shape the future of mobility and industrial technology. You are our ideal partner if you are a high-performing team with an interest in a long-term relationship with ZF as a potential customer, collaboration partner or investor. Our main interest lies in cutting-edge technology, business model & process innovation with clear evidence of technological maturity and product-market-fit.

Currently in focus are solutions that push the boundaries in the following areas:

E-Mobility

Power Electronics
Powertrain Technologies
Infrastructure Solutions
Fuel Cell / Hydrogen
Energy meets Mobility

AD, ADAS & Vehicle Systems

Sensors
High-Performance Computing
Enabling Software Components
System & Functions
Connectivity

Motion Control & Safety

Collision Avoidance
Occupant & Road User Protection
Integrated Safety
Chassis 2.0
X-by-Wire

Digital Mobility

Data Management & Analytics
Transaction Platforms
Fleet Management & Operations
Mobility-/Transport-as-a-Service
Digital Aftermarket

Business Process Digitalization

Process Analytics & Optimization
Supply Chain Management
Procurement & Logistics
Future of Work

Industry 4.0

Advanced Manufacturing
Industrial IoT
Industry Robotics
Intra-Factory Connectivity

Deep Tech

Future of Computation
Advanced AI / ML
Cyber Security
Smart Materials

Clean Tech & Sustainability

Data Management & Traceability
Corporate Footprint Reduction
Lifecycle Management
Repurpose / Reman / Recycling

Our Portfolio

Fund Investments

Eurazeo is a global investment company, supporting high-growth, innovative companies fostering the transition towards more liveable and sustainable cities. Eurazeo focuses on the most critical sectors to transition towards a low-carbon economy worldwide – mobility, logistics, energy, buildings and industrial tech.

Matterwave Ventures is a European early-stage VC focused on solutions that shape the future of industrial value creation. As a sector agnostic investor, Matterwave is looking for ground-breaking software and hardware solutions – from materials to components to systems to software.

rethink Mobility is a leading early-stage Venture Capital firm backing the next generation of sustainable mobility startups in Europe with capital, deep domain expertise and a strong industry network. They specialize in automotive, vehicle tech, mobility and logistic investments.

Autotech Ventures is an early-stage Venture Capital firm on a mission to solve the world’s ground transport challenges with technology. They focus on global seed through Series C startups related to connectivity, autonomy, shared-use, electrification and digitization of enterprises.

Direct Investments

ZF's direct investments are initiated and funded directly by our Divisions & Business Units. ZF Ventures can support startups in identifying & connecting with the right business owners, as well as in preparing & navigating the investment process.

Global leader in autonomous vehicle software fueling universal autonomy: the ability of any vehicle, of any size, in any place to operate autonomously, safely and sustainably.

Leading developer of embeddable software that empowers autonomous systems to make decisions by solving complex optimization problems in milliseconds for improvements in safety, productivity and energy efficiency.

Tech-Company specialized in deep learning-based embedded vision products and data services enabling applications of smart parking, L2+ autonomous driving and crowd sourced mapping.

Leading developer of breakthrough safe, certified, developer-friendly and scalable software for mobility systems based on proven open-source software.

Industry pioneer in vision processing technology, accelerating the advent of fully autonomous vehicles with their strong expertise in deep learning, embedded platforms, perception and advanced algorithms.

Bangalore based specialist of embedded automotive software products and services with specialization in AUTOSAR, ISO 26262 and in-vehicle networking.

Our Team

Alexander Bastron

Anja Kokalj

nawn.xbxnyw@ms.pbz | LinkedIn
(on temporary leave)

How to Connect

Please get in touch & connect with us – we’d love to hear from you!

FAQ

What kind of partnership are you interested in?

We are looking for collaboration opportunities with startups that can take many different shapes & forms and evolve over time.

These partnerships can take many shapes, sizes and forms – an early customer-supplier-relationship (venture client), a collaboration for technology development & industrialization, a shared business model and go-to-market approach, an equity investment – depending on what generates the most value for you and for us.

Do you invest without prior collaboration?

Our primary objective is to drive strategic value through collaboration and a long-term partnership – but there can be exceptions in cases where investments open the door for future collaboration.

How can I get access to the right business stakeholder within ZF?

Please get in touch with us and we will help you identify and connect with the right contact person within ZF.

What kind of solutions are you most interested in?

Through ZF Ventures, we intend to establish new revenue pools, enhance our product & service portfolio and implement solutions that further improve our operational excellence.

We therefore look for technology, product & service, business model and process innovation opportunities.

Which search fields are you focusing on?

We are looking for solutions that shape the future of mobility & industrial technology.

Our current focus areas are: E-Mobility, AD, ADAS & Vehicle Systems, Vehicle Motion Control, Integrated Safety, Digital Mobility, Business Process Digitalization, Industry 4.0, Deep Tech, Clean Tech & Sustainability.

Do you have a specific geographical focus?

We work with startups from all around the globe with a specific focus on Europe, North-America and Asia-Pacific.

Does ZF Ventures include a Venture-Client Unit?

We focus on collaboration and partnerships, and in many cases this means purchasing the technology, products or services of startups, thus becoming an early customer (venture-client).

What level of solution maturity are you looking for?

It depends on the use case & application of your solution – for cutting-edge technology innovation we might be looking at earlier stage maturity than for a process optimization case where we will need to rely on a ready-to-deploy and market proven solution.

How closely do you collaborate with ZFs Divisions, Business Units and Corporate Functions?

Very closely – we are in constant exchange with our internal business and functional stakeholders to understand their strategic needs for outside-in innovation and their individual capabilities.

Do Startups receive payment or funding for PoC projects?

Yes, funding and resources typically need to be provided by the respective ZF business entity that is engaging in a PoC. In this way we ensure there is “skin in the game” and a fully focused & dedicated team in place to drive valuable PoC outcomes.

The mode of engagement (including agreement on scope, expected outcomes, resources, milestones, payment, collaboration model, etc.) between the startup and the respective ZF entity is collaboratively determined at the beginning of the PoC – ZF Ventures helps in facilitating the right setup.

After a successful project, can you help us scale our solution across all of ZF?

Yes, we help you find and connect with the right stakeholders in ZF to scale your solution across the ZF ecosystem, including people with a technical or business interest as well as those with a functional responsibility (e.g. IT, HR, Operations, etc.).

Do you have a closed or evergreen Fund structure?

Currently, ZF Ventures is focusing on VC Fund investments and initiation of collaboration opportunities. We have not yet established an own dedicated ZF Fund, although this is in planning for the near future.

Nevertheless, we can support you in your funding process through our extensive global VC Network.

How does your direct investment process work?

ZFs direct investments are initiated and funded directly by our Divisions & Business Units.

ZF Ventures can support you in identifying and connecting with the right business owners, as well as in preparing and navigating the investment process.

At what stage do you invest?

It depends on the strategic intent of the respective business stakeholder. To date, our direct investment have been between early stage and Series C.

How much equity do you usually take?

It depends on the investment case and the funding round, but in general we participate with single to low two-digit percentage stakes.

Do you take board seats?

Yes, depending on our equity share and if of mutual benefit to the startup and ZF.

Do you lead investment rounds?

We prefer to syndicate our investments with existing or new investors in the company and typically co-lead or follow as necessary.