This interview is about venture capital around mobility and autonomous vehicles. It’s with Christian Noske, partner at BMW i Ventures.
Christian is especially interested in technologies and companies that circle autonomous vehicles. For example, one of their investments helps to service vehicle fleets. So we get to hear about how autonomous vehicles will affect services and a number of different areas. Things are changing so fast.
Here are some other things we talk about:
-What areas around mobility/auto are you especially interested in?
-What’s a typical week look like for you?
-What investors are a part of BMW i Ventures?
-Advantages of a corporate VC fund like BMW i Ventures, disadvantages?
-When will cities have fully autonomous taxis?
-Do you get to test drive BMW’s cars?
Dave Kruse: Hey everyone. Welcome to another episode of Flyover Labs and this interview is all about corporate venture capital and its future, especially around mobility and auto industries. So I am quite pleased that Christian Noske, a partner at BMW i Ventures is with us today. So I’m curious how Christian ended up in his role and I am also curious of what he’s excited about now around mobility and the auto industry, because things are changing quite fast as we all know and I love it learning more about corporate venture capital. We’ve had a number of VCs on this podcast, but I think Christian is the first person from a corporate venture capital firm, so that will be interesting. So Christian, thanks for coming on this show today.
Christian Noske: Thanks for having me Dave.
Dave Kruse: Definitely. Alright, so before we get into kind of what you’re doing now, can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you ended up at BMW?
Christian Noske: Yeah, so I am German. So I was born in Berlin and I studied in Stuttgart. I attended a special education program and it was around Computer Science and Economics, so kind of those things, but at the same time I would work at a corporation. It was Bosch back then, so tier one supplier to automotive. I would essentially have no vacation or spring breaks or any of that. I would always work or study, which sounds horrible, but it was actually a lot of fun. So in the beginning I only had internship experience and did a lot of computer science and economics and those were 50%. I also started working like that at Bosch in the central IT department. It sounds super boring. It was interesting, but changed quite quickly to a more interesting consumer business that Bosch has, which is power tools, so all the drilling machines and accessories and all of that. It was also headquartered in the South of Stuttgart, South of Germany in Stuttgart and during those five years in total that I spent there where I worked in business development controlling and finance function, I also spent a couple of months in Hong Kong where they sent me for like an in-house consultancy project. So that was super cool spending time in Hong Kong and also spending time at Shanghai and Tan Jho [ph] which is kind of small town of 10 million people off of Shanghai. So that’s how I got started and really by accident I met a guy that was working with BMW back then and told me about i Ventures and now the rest is history.
Dave Kruse: So then you just applied or did he introduce you to somebody there at i Ventures?
Christian Noske: No, it was actually very interesting. He had a consultancy that was also shortly acquired by WPT and he told me I can just start at his company and then work with BMW i Ventures, so I did that and so I had really the first maybe 12 to 18 months or so, I had to head on what I did for his company, which I in the end was CFO and had all the typical CFO functions, so HR operations, processes and all of those things. The company had on 30 people at this point, and at the same time I would spend more and more time on BMW i Ventures. We were aided or started in 2011 and as you can imagine the first couple of [Audio Gap] much to do there and we already had somebody full time in New York and so it made sense this way. But after a while I joined full time I left the company. I left the person that introduced me back then to BMW i Ventures and then became full time when I was done.
Dave Kruse: Interesting! Yeah, I was curious how – you know why BMW brought you. I always curious why VC firms runs around people, because it’s just a diverse kind of collective group that get into VC. There is not like one path, so that’s a really interesting path. So BMW essentially i Ventures had invested in this company you were working for as a CFO and you got to know the team there. Is that…
Christian Noske: No, no. So they didn’t invest in them. The fund was actually not around, but the CEO of this company helped BMW in a lot of other things, just the things through innovation, things through activities that they could do and one of the activities was i Ventures. So he was Senior Advisor and is still Senior Advisor to the fund and in the beginning really you know helped creating the whole unit and that was really the background there. And you know BMW was looking at a lot of different innovation things and things they could do and they created this brand which is now really well known, which is BMW i. So the i3 and the i8 you see on the street today, they weren’t really around back then, but was all under the same roof, thinking about new innovative cars, creating cars that were never created before, at least not in this approach. They thought about sustainability and how to save massive amounts of water by creating this new car and at the same time they were thinking about new and it’s just like ushering and the parking and all of that and i Ventures was really to force on how innovation could happen in the corporation with start up and not just on the pure corporate side.
Dave Kruse: Interesting! Okay. And that sounds awesome, so I’m curious why, you know why you wanted to join? I mean I can think of many reasons but what kind of prompted you like ‘yeah, let’s try this out.’
Christian Noske: Yeah, I mean I was always interested in start-ups as probably a lot of people say that and venture capitalists here alluded to, it’s very hard to cut in and so I was very intrigued and my educational background was computer science and economics and it made super sense all of a sudden. It was okay yeah, statistically and this is venture capital and you actually need to do a lot of things at the same time. You need to understand computer science, you need to understand business models and all that. So it felt like a very good fit and then BMW was one of the, obviously a very well known brand and a lot of people loved their parts. I did too and I saw its idea of having a strong brand and trying to do something in a space where there’s not really too many at this time, at least 2011. There were not too many very strong brands doing it and in addition to that I wasn’t ever really interested in the photo sharing app and you know connecting people through services where it’s all you know, you have – every couple of years it says a new platform coming around and I didn’t really understand the sustainability behind it and I was always looking forward to a purpose in those jobs. Transportation is one of things that everybody needs to deal with and its literally moving people and it makes a difference whether you can participate in the labor force, in a job, in a dream job or not. If you don’t have means to get to a point then you can’t be there and you can’t do it. So it’s really life changing for a lot of people. Its influenced a lot of people in the US, especially with things that happened in New York back then where the Mayor of Bloomberg was just introducing this new initiative; again its 2011, late 2010. It’s a big apps competition where he made city data available for developers to help the city solve challenges and it’s not just for you know for the rich and famous, but really for the people in need and the people that don’t – that cannot pay $50 for a taxi back then or so or very much dependant on subways and how can we make that more assessable. And that vision he had there was very much resonating with our vision of urban mobility and urban transportation and so there was all sorts of reasons why we started in New York besides others, but that was very close to our heart and to my heart.
Dave Kruse: Got you, okay and before we get too far, can you kind of give us a brief overview on BMW i Ventures? Like the number of investments, kind of the view, the size of the fund if you can disclose that and kind of your focus and yeah, location. Just give us a brief overview, it would be awesome.
Christian Noske: Totally, yeah. So we are in our second fund. Fund one was $100 million. We announced our second fund in November last year. We did the funding in Euros, so 40 or so million dollar fund. It’s a true fund. It’s not on the balance sheet, it’s off the balance sheet. We are investing totally independent. We have a partnership structure very similar to other VCs. So in that regards we are very far away from your typical corporate VC, but we invest through voting off our four partners and one of them and three partners need to say yes and then we are good to make the investment. We are typically investing between $500,000 to $20 million in companies in the seed to very much they received the seed stage, where our seed support is very much to as A and B and the reason for this quite big stretch here is that we invest in so many different areas in transportation automotives that some of them makes sense to invest much earlier. Sometimes we have to steer a little bit more product market to really invest. More specifically we have eight investment areas. You can also read about them on BMWiVentures.com, but in a nutshell we’re thinking about the values chain of transportation or automotive where it really starts this, how do you build stuff? Industrial 4.0 is kind of the headline there. Logistics, warehousing, robotics and all of that would be in that and we already invested in a couple of companies in that space and I will talk a little bit more about that in a second. But autonomous driving of course is the elephant in the room and very much talked about in the press right now. It’s of course also our interest area. We go very deep there. We can invest in anything from a sensor company, so somebody developing a new type of lighter or a camera or a radar or so to the data technology in a car and how do you communicate to outside of the car due to X technologies and how does the car communicate with the infrastructure in cities? How is the secured? So cyber security is obviously top of mind as well, access to cars and then really leaving this very deep tech discussion where we also look at batter technology, everything you can imagine there. We look at how people would use those cars; what is the future of relationship between an OEM and those companies and companies meaning fleets like Uber analysts or traditional customers. How is this evolving? And a lot of people believe that most of the car ownership will move fleet ownership. It’s already visible in a lot of deals where Uber analysts are a little bit stronger, but this is something where we spend a lot of time on. And the kind of the obvious questions, there are how are we buying the cars in the future? The tests levity showed a lot around dealerships and dealership innovation. I still believe that if you will have to own a car and the question is do we have to own a car and how do you own it in the future, but a car is very much a hi-touch product, so we still believe that you want to test drive your car or you want to at least see it or you want to research it in a way that you have a good idea of product quality and things that are important to you, like space if you have kids or if you’re you know more sporty, then you want to definitely test drive it. There are a lot of different circumstances that makes that more important. We just invested in a company yesterday in Shift which is used car. It kicks up your market place, delivering test drives and super relevant from the venues and the venues are the biggest buyer group there, so that’s an experience. But just finishing up the investment areas, we of course also look at smart city, because that’s really the ecosystem where a lot of those services will be deployed, where autonomous driving fleets will have one of the biggest impacts looking at all those congestion traffic jams on the streets where you can’t really get from A to B easily other than subway in the rush hour and I think a lot of people that would live in LA or so would understand how that is. And yeah, so we’re investing in those areas. We made 15 investments or we invested in 15 companies in our first fund and we’ve already invested in over 17 companies since our new fund started; so quite an increase there. We have 11 new companies since fund two was announced and we did a couple of follow-on investments in fund one portfolio companies.
Dave Kruse: Got you. And for the second fund, first or second, who – is BMW your main and only investors or do you have other investors as well?
Christian Noske: No, so today that’s probably the most corporate you can see attributed to our fund. BMW is the only LT today.
Dave Kruse: Wow! Okay, interesting, alright. And where are you guys located, just so people know?
Christian Noske: Yeah, so we – yeah, people should know. I am personally located in New York and that used to be our headquarters until last year and since end of 2016. Our new headquarter is Mountain View, California and we have a small set office in San Francisco and we also have a few people in Munich right now that cover the European and partly also the Israeli market.
Dave Kruse: Okay, interesting. And so you went through a number of areas there. I’m curious if you have one that’s particularly close to your heart or one that you’re excited about or you spend more time with and why?
Christian Noske: Yeah, so we don’t really have a clear focus of each of the partners today. Some of the things just naturally happen by kind of background or interest level or just accident, but so for me there are only two areas that I really like and really spend a lot of time on right now. One area is I would call it the picks and shuffles of autonomous driving. So a lot of people just look at, you know you want to have some cool fancy car that drives you from A to B and you don’t have to worry about any of that. But if you think through the implications of that, there are a lot of things that a driver is doing today or that somebody is doing today that needs to be taken care of and it needs to be taken care of in a economical, efficient way, so you can still make more money and you don’t actually use more labor than before. That would obviously be the worst case there. And so thinking about the logistics, thinking about car care in the autonomous growth, thinking about the secondary markets, so a good comparison there would be AirBNB. In its early days of AirBNB and most of the people are – put their apartments on AirBNB and they manage themselves and now we have more and more – I mean more such spaces on it and it feels really more like a hotel just from a management point of view. They are very professional, they do a lot you can access automatically, you have a lot of convenience features now attached to it and the secondary markets created by that were cleaning companies, cleaning APIs, APIs for the availability for key access, you know like the companies like August that just give you access to an apartment where before it wasn’t really a big deal and that AirBNB enabled those things. And really thinking about the autonomous future in the same way and thinking what’s kind of the next, where can you make the most money with and the secure, that’s really where I like to spend a lot of time on and we make some kind of connected bets to that, but nothing major and I’m still looking a lot. And the second…
Dave Kruse: What’s an example of an investment you made or something you’re looking at in that?
Christian Noske: Yeah, so one company in our portfolio would be Stratam. They pivoted from a parking valet type of company. So think of it on demand valet. You can call a person to your location and that person would take over your car and park it somewhere and then when you need it back, you would call it back, that’s how they started. And it wasn’t really a good business. It was a gross margin negative business and the CEO realized that very quickly and reutilated [ph] the company into a B2B company using the technology he built to apply that to fleet owners. So today they are kind of an AI powered fleet management company. So they are used today by a lot of big companies that we both know are OEMs car sharing, ride sharing or all kinds of services around that where you have to drop off the car from A to B; you have to wash the car before you hand it over to the next customer; you have to do an oil change. You kind of have to do all those things and you want to do those in an intelligent way without paper and pen which is kind of the most fleets operated on today and just connected directly as workers and its different suppliers and managed this whole thing from a dashboard at the finger tips.
Dave Kruse: So it’s like an ERP for fleets, almost.
Christian Noske: In a way. That’s one way of looking at it yeah, definitely.
Dave Kruse: And then you got more intelligence. Yeah, and so what’s the second area that you mentioned?
Christian Noske: Yeah, the second one that I just really love to think about product and how people use product and so the example I gave earlier is thinking about ownership models and how customers will interact with OEMs and customers buying cars and using cars. This is really where I spend a lot of my time. And there are traditionally really three big things for OEMs where your buying or selling cars, you are leasing cars, so the financial service arm off a lot of the OEMs and then you have the mechanics, the repair piece of it. And really thinking about all the changes that are happening right now and how the impact might be for those verticals, this is very intriguing for me and we are spending a lot of time in that and I can ensure, me personally I spend a lot of time talking to companies that provide interesting solutions to solve that or be prepared for that future.
Dave Kruse: Can you provide an example or an investment or an example of a company where – yeah, that would be great.
Christian Noske: Yeah. No, definitely yeah. One of the examples I already mentioned earlier was a company we announced on Wednesday this week, this company called Shift. Shift is based in San Francisco. They received funding before from very well known VCs like DFJ, Highland, Goldman Sachs and in the new round that we let, we let a $38 million receipt. The kind of the spin off fund from Kleiner Perkins also joined. It was a very interesting fund and what Shift is doing as I mentioned before is a peer-to-peer used car market place. If you think about how used cars – how you would buy your used cars, probably one of the bigger websites like TrueCar or one of the other or you would do it on Craigslist or you would just see a car on the street with a little paper in the windshield and call the owner. It’s very manual today and you have to go somewhere or you always feel a bit awkward for kind of trust reasons. Either you want to do it in a very public spot because you never know who is actually selling the car or you don’t really trust that the car is really less in mileage that its saying or really has no problem and you don’t really have to spend a lot of money after buying it and all those problems are solved by Shift where they are – they have a 200 point inspection program, so it’s very much – very thorough. You have a small warranty even, which in used car dealerships is very rare. You have as I mentioned before the delivery of the test drive where one of the most intriguing thing there was thinking about how this process works. So one of the statistics that we were always intrigued by is that on average, it really depends on what statistic you believe that one statistic we saw is 1.1 visits per car purchase per customer, that’s essentially what the reality is today. From over 3.5, 4 visits just 10 years ago where you would eventually go to three or four dealers before your buying the car. Of course now a lot of the research is online and people really use it just to buy the car to get the car that they know they want and this combined with kind of the bad experience that a lot of people see in used car dealerships, you deliver the test drives and no strings attached, you can take it or you don’t take it. It’s not really a sales process. It’s just a product experience proves and so people really resonate to that. People really don’t feel the pressure and because they don’t feel that they actually buy more cars and it’s a highest industry rate that I’ve ever seen in conversion between test drive and purchase and that’s really what excited me and they have created an economics and it’s a massive market.
Dave Kruse: Yeah, I would use that. I hate selling cars. It’s a huge relief to all your points. So that’s cool. And so you kind of touched on it earlier, but it sounds like the i Ventures, its different that being more of a traditional corporate venture capital. Are you guys – because you’re more stand alone. Is that kind of the – is that correct or – yeah, I guess do you have any type of focus or guidance from BMW on where you want to go?
Christian Noske: Yeah, no definitely we want to – as I said BMW’s the single LP. There are a lot of things, we do it together and I think the most important piece is just that BMW gave us the ability to make decisions on our own, which is in important for two things, which is one is speed. You always have to go back and check in. If this doesn’t work out, there was an interesting KPM unit quite a couple of years ago that was talking about the different clock speeds and the clock speed of a corporate is obviously very slow. It’s a huge clock. It’s an asset and then the start up is really a path and then you try to kind of align those two and of course you fail. So you have to give – if you want to open a corporate venture capital firm, you really have to make sure you deliver tools there that are competitors and the start-up fields its always lagging and everything takes much longer and its more of a corporate speed which – that really doesn’t work out for them and so speed is one of the important piece that we get through that. We’ve been really having an outside in knowledge transfer piece here where we see a lot of things that our colleagues can’t really spend as much time on as we do, but there is still a lot of Indian units that spend way more time on other topics so we really try to do both here. We like for a sensor technology company as I mentioned earlier, probably if we invest we would talk already to 10, 20, 30 Indian units there on a regular basis understanding what they see in the market, what really from an engineer point of view is important and what’s not important. And there’s so much noise in our industry today. In 2011 that whole space as not really flexi. Nobody really understood why transportation would be a big thing to invest in and that changed and what also changed there is there are so many companies doing very similar things and if you don’t really have this deep tech knowledge, then it’s hard to cut through the noise there. So we really believe that we can do a great job in cutting through this noise much faster by using BMWs resources and then of course it’s a win-win–win if the start-up has a connection to those smart Indian units that don’t do anything else but that and BMW sees companies very early on and can engage with them and we hopefully make smart investment decisions and not just go after the bus, but after substance. So that’s really one broad example of BMW, how we work with BMW and how we make sure that what BMW sees on the corporate side is also, let’s say it’s an important role for our investment decisions.
Dave Kruse: Yeah, I can see you know corporate venture capital funds have a big advantage and that way you can have the insider knowledge that’s pretty intimate, which is – but I’m curious you know how compared to like traditional VC firms, you know what advantages do they have over you guys? Anything or – yeah is there anything?
Christian Noske: No, there are a ton of examples where they have many advantages and that’s why we – those who like to partner a lot with traditional VCs either as a co-lead or just the informed partner in the round. But one thing that I just want to make sure and you know just underline here; it’s not just – it can actually be a disadvantage if you have too close access to the corporation and that’s why the independent there is so important. Just being close to the corporation and not having an independence will lead in most cases to biased decisions where you want to invest in your supplier or you want to invest in whatever your corporation tells you is the smart decision. But that might not be the biggest market, that might not be the best player from a venture capital point of view and that’s why there are some stereotypes around corporate VCs where they over pay or they invest in companies that are not really you know sustainable and so that’s why it’s really important to have those two things; very close connection to the corporation but having the abilities to make the investment decisions independently and we have that. So your question, what are the advantages for institutional investors? They of course have massive experience in analyzing markets, in knowing exactly what a front version looks like in not any market really, what they are focused on or invested in. They saw companies going from zero to an IPO. We did not go through that process yet. So we really look to those institutional investors, also to teachers and then we are listening and we don’t believe we know everything and we are reclined to focus on the things where we are really strong, which is automotive transportation. We spend a ton of time in that space and most other institutional investors, you know they have to focus on many topics and they look to us for that inside knowledge in transportation and ideally we complement each other this way.
Dave Kruse: Got you, okay. And on a personal level, what does a kind of typical week look like for you. Just trying to get a feel that people would know like what you’re doing. What percentage of time you spend sourcing you know new investments versus like working with existing companies and yeah, how do you kind of allocate your time?
Christian Noske: Yeah, that’s a tricky one. You always feel a little bit like the lonely wolf in VC. You have a lot of people you talk to, but on the topics your working on your mostly alone. Its small teams and very dedicated. So I am travelling a lot right now as I said. I am in New York; the rest of the team is in San Francisco. So my typical month would look like one and a half weeks in San Francisco and two and a half weeks in New York and maybe some other business trips in between. I don’t really go back to Germany very often, maybe twice a year. So on my typical work week really depends then where I am. It’s probably 50% of my time spending on the portfolio companies. I have a couple of board seats, an observer seat and that keeps me busy and then probably talking to new companies, it’s a little bit less now than in the past, but maybe 10% to 20% to new companies and then 30%, you know a team networking on really the C side with other VCs to – again, to see if we can work on a deal together or what’s going on. People ask us for their opinions on things where we are already invested or you know the typical day I think of the VC there, where I have a lot of calls where people want to get your expert opinion on things and your used like that by start-ups, by other corporations that hopefully it tends to be a win-win where you can then bring in that corporation and mix in the customer to one of your portfolios where – that’s really where I spend most of my time. It’s like 50% for business development or other things for our portfolio where we try not only with BMW, but also with other OEMs. Just yesterday I talked to somebody from Jaguar, Land rover and spent a ton of time with Toyota and other OEMs. We have to understand as a OEM we see that most companies that sell to OEMs need to sell to all our OEMs or to many OEMs to be successful and if you don’t understand that, then you will force them into a corner where they won’t be valuable and it won’t be interesting from a financial point of view.
Dave Kruse: Interesting. Well, that kind of leads into my next question, what’s one thing in the car industry that you’ve learnt that might surprise us. I mean that’s – that actually might be bigger right there.
Christian Noske: That’s actually true, yeah. So one company that was announced in the investment round, just earlier this week, Nauto; there are two other OEMs and an insurance company invested in that company. So its GM, its Toyota and our stuff in the same company and it was never a question whether that’s a good thing or bad thing. It was very clear that the more the merrier and the more are invested, the clearer the path to becoming a standard or being able to sell to many, because really what’s…There is a big difficult knack between the traditional OEM way of looking at things and the venture capital and start up world. So one of the first things that I was very surprised by when I moved from Germany to the US is you really share everything with everyone. You know there is not the company, your Holy Grail that you protect a lot where you don’t want other people to talk to, but here it’s really like have you already talked to them, have you already spent time with resource people. It’s really building that force and it’s a lot of giving and its more you know this will come back to me. It will be an advantage for me in the future, maybe not right now, but I’m sure it’ll help me and this attitude it great and it really helps to open doors and I tried to really live by those values.
Dave Kruse: And what was the name of that company that the three of you OEMs invested in?
Christian Noske: That was Nauto, N-A-U-T-O, yeah it’s a big round.
Dave Kruse: And very briefly what do they do again?
Christian Noske: So they have a aftermarket device that you put into your fleet cars. So they are selling to B2B fleets and it’s a dash cam, so a camera, a wide angled camera that looks into the indoor of the car or the truck and a camera that looks outside and the computer vision behind it, optic recognition and a lot of other services that you can do on top, that’s the whole product right now. And really the hardware product its obviously, it’s a means to an end. Ideally we can integrate those things and existing infrastructure, but it’s always a clock wise problem that I described earlier. You have to create momentum for yourself and people won’t just believe you if you say I can do that and let you take over the car. But if you have proven that was millions of miles and data points that becomes more valuable.
Dave Kruse: Yeah, maybe I think a fair amount of press released at one point, I remember reading about them. And then, so we’re getting near the end, but I got two or three more questions. So is there anything that we haven’t talked about that you think of as like the autonomous vehicle industry or mobility that they are not really thinking about a whole lot, but you guys are thinking about it a lot and maybe it’s like the picks and shovels of the industry, but is there anything else that you think people should really start paying more attention to?
Christian Noske: I mean we talk to a lot of smart people in this industry, so I wouldn’t generalize that we have kind of the secret sauce there, but I think people, especially in Silicon Valley I have to say, often spend a lot of time just looking at this new standard technology or if its new, you know whatever technology that will be built into the car. I think we really have to pay more attention around the policy elements of it. If the government tells you, you can’t have an autonomous car on the street, then it doesn’t help you that you have the best sensors. It’s really – its way more important in the autonomous world and in the transportation industry today to form public and private partnerships. So I think there needs to be way more education on how that can actually look like. A look of cities are – we understood that other cities are a little bit behind and I think I see Madison, I believe where you live, it’s actually a good example for a city being a little bit more straight forward and being forward thinking there, at least the articles I read. So public private partnerships policy I think is one of the things. How to manage those fleets and that goes back to the picks and shovels a little bit and not just having the car, but how do you make, how do you launch an autonomous fleet in an NGO. How do you get the data back where you know there might be just problems around data policy and how do you make sure that your sequence will improve by, but still enrolling for certain data privacy that you have to follow in a more public room. So there’s a lot of those questions. And insurance is another topic there that of course is a given today, but if the machine drives the car, who is taking responsibility with paying forward the fees and at what point do we – you know is insurance cheaper or is it more expensive. Those questions are not clear yet. There are a lot of statistics around that where people believe it might just be the same, but you can have different opinions about that, let’s say.
Dave Kruse: Got you, alright. Interesting, and alright so three quick more personal questions here and then unfortunately we probably have to wrap up and you got to fly out to Germany here too. So one is, when can – and this I know is maybe a guess, but when can I expect to hail a self driving vehicle or a self driving taxi here in Madison or another city and you can pick Boston or something like that. But when do you think it will start coming out if you had to guess. I put you on the spot.
Christian Noske: Yeah, I think next year. I think next year will be…
Dave Kruse: Next year? What?
Christian Noske: Yeah, I think next year there will be cities where you will have this ability to hail some sort of autonomous car.
Dave Kruse: Wow! Without a driver?
Christian Noske: So the question is, is there still an engineer on the side or is the car completely just a passenger and nobody else. That’s the bigger question I think. The autonomous driving cars that picks you up and nobody is really doing anything, but you have a safety person in there, I think that will happen next year. If you’re looking at the cars purely autonomous and there is no kind of safety person in there that just makes sure that nothing goes wrong on the technology side, then I think we will be more in 2020, 2022 in that range depending on the location.
Dave Kruse: Got you, alright well that will be interesting. Alright, yeah I can’t wait to try that out. And yeah, so do you ever get to test drive any of the BMW cars. When that i series came out and I forget which one that was – I mean I am not a huge car guy, but man that is a nice looking – I forgot which one it was, but it was a nice looking car. Like I don’t …
Christian Noske: I think the i8 probably…
Dave Kruse: Yeah, exactly. [Cross Talk]
Christian Noske: No, I think we’re very similar. I wasn’t really a big car guy either. I was always more fascinated around transportation as a whole and cars part of that, but I was not really a big key hat ever. So yeah, the i8 came out. This was with wing doors and a lot of people have resonated to that. You know actually a funny story there. We had the chance to connect – so there were only a few, like a hand full of cars or so available at the launch a couple of years ago and a few of our portfolio companies had exclusive access there to buy one of those for the company or personally and so then obviously it’s like perks presented. It was still an expensive car, but for press purposes and for just for marketing purposes it made a lot of sense for some people. So as you can imagine there were no other cars on the street and there were only – in California most of them and so the start-up CEO could take a press or some other investors around and borrow it to investors. So people were very excited about it and I drove it as well and yeah, I had never so many people look at me on the street with this car back then, so that was interesting.
Dave Kruse: Was it pretty nice to drive?
Christian Noske: Yeah, it was pretty nice. It was a sporty car. You lay low on the street and I never really drove a sports car before and it was just incredible and I did this in New York as well a couple of years ago with similar reactions and its crazy, yeah.
Dave Kruse: Nice. Alright, and last question. What do you like to – when you’re not thinking about transportation and maybe you always are, but if you’re not, what do you like to do in your free time?
Christian Noske: No, I have a private life as well, yeah. I love to play tennis, squash, anything that has a racket really or volleyball. So yeah, hiking is great. Living in New York, it is amazing to go up there, all of those things depending on my time. I try to connect sometimes pleasure with work trips, going to interesting places and spend a couple of hours just to see the city, try the local foods and yeah, that’s probably it.
Dave Kruse: Nice, that sounds good and good to stay active. Well, I think that pretty much does it unfortunately. But Christian I really appreciate you coming on our podcast and telling us your story and I definitely learned a little bit, definitely a lot about the car industry and where its headed and its pretty cool stuff what you’re working on. So thanks for sharing your story.
Christian Noske: Thanks for having me.
Dave Kruse: Definitely. And I’ll have to keep tabs on other new investments that you guys make and yeah, you guys are kind of planning and building the future with your companies. That’s a pretty fun thing to do.
Christian Noske: Yeah, I know. Thank you.
Dave Kruse: And thanks everyone for listening to another episode of Flyover Labs. As always I definitely appreciate it and we’ll see you next time. Thanks everyone; thanks Christian. Bye.
Christian Noske: Thank you. Bye.