Pull Systems launches out of Up.Labs-Porsche partnership to tackle EV performance

Pull Systems launches out of Up.Labs-Porsche partnership to tackle EV performance

When Porsche partnered with the venture studio UP. Labsthe mission was to create six startups in three years all designed to solve the German automaker’s biggest problems and be compelling enough as a standalone business that could attract other customers.

On Porsche’s list: software that helps manage and automate the performance of EVs. Pull Systems, the first startup to emerge from the partnership, has developed a software product that the two companies say will solve this. Pull Systems, which was announced at SXSW 2023, also announced that it has raised $5 million in a seed round led by UP.Partners.

“Cars are becoming a combination of software and a battery – and ultimately the performance of the battery,” said UP.Labs president Katelyn Foley. “And OEMs really need to get to a place where they can understand both of those aspects to stay competitive, because the things they’re really good at are the more commodity parts of the car.”

Pull Systems is a software as a service platform that provides performance management software to EV suppliers, manufacturers and operators. The product is not battery management software (BMS), which is technically responsible for collecting data about the battery and interacting with the battery management system. The startup’s software is a compliment, explains Henry Furman, former venture head of product at UP.Labs, now Pull Systems’ chief product officer.

And it’s already rolled out to the Porsche Taycan cars on the road today.

The startup has developed a library of machine learning models that can analyze and predict vehicle behavior such as driving and charging across the entire Porsche fleet. This type of information, along with outside data such as weather patterns and road conditions, can be used to predict and then notify car or EV owners when a vehicle needs maintenance, if when to deploy over-the-air software updates and even boost after- Sales gains.

The software monitors and collects data on each vehicle in the Porsche EV fleet, which can also help identify performance issues that can be resolved with new firmware or determine the best second-life option for the battery as it reaches the end of its life. of its life, added Furman. .

Ultimately, the company wants the software to be automated using machine learning tools.

“Our real vision here, within the complexities of electrification, is that cars will actually be able to do some of the management of their own propulsion system,” Furman said. “We see a great opportunity for us to automate a lot of what are essentially rules-based type conclusions for these different software updates.”

For example, the software could detect a weather front coming into a certain area and issue a software update that would help optimize the batteries, he explained.

That’s a compelling prospect for Porsche, a company that plans to expand its EV lineup beyond the Taycan over the next few years, including the Macan in 2024, the 718 in 2025, a Cayenne and a yet-to-be-named full-sized SUV.

Pull Systems plans to add more carmakers to its service next year.

The connection to Up.Labs

UP.Labs is not a venture firm, even though it originated from, and operates in parallel with, UP.Partners. It is also not a corporate accelerator or incubator, although it builds startups and works with corporations. The company, which was launched in UP.Summit 2022 in Bentonville, Arkansas, is structured as a venture lab with a new type of financial investment vehicle.

Porsche is its first corporate partner. Foley told TechCrunch that more corporate partnerships will be announced this year.

“The way our model works is we identify large areas of friction that hold large amounts of pool, and it’s the combination of those two things that should be in place,” Foley said. “So one feels strongly about the problem and it touches a lot of money — and we’re not going to consider anything outside of those two areas.”

In the beginning, the firm takes the corporation apart to find all the problems. UP.Labs identified 217 Porsches and broke them down into a set of problems and accompanying ideas that would solve them. An investment committee that includes UP.Labs, Porsche and UP.Partners, narrows them down to the final pair that the team will start incubating.

Under the three-year agreement with Porsche, UP.Labs will establish six companies, or two a year, with new business models focused on the automaker’s core activities such as predictive maintenance, supply chain transparency or digital retail, according to Lutz Meschke, deputy chairman and member of the Porsche AG executive board for finance and IT.