With the signature of the final contracts and approval of the competition authorities, the BMW Group and the company Critical Software have concluded the formation of their joint venture. The new joint-venture company with the name Critical TechWorks will combine both partners’ expertise in premium mobility and automotive software engineering for the development of on- and off-board applications. The BMW Group holds a 51% stake in the new company, which already employs around 200 people at its locations in Lisbon and Porto in Portugal.
BMW says Critical TechWorks represents an important addition to the BMW Group’s global innovation network in the area of IT and software development. With increased involvement in the field of digitisation, the BMW Group is pursuing the goals set out in its Strategy Number One > Next: forging ahead with its transformation into a mobility-tech company and actively shaping the digital
shift in the automotive industry.
“With this stakeholding, we are selectively expanding our IT and software expertise and enhancing our in-house capabilities in this area. Starting today, in addition to our locations worldwide, we will also be developing ground-breaking solutions for digitisation and automation of product development, production and sales here in the heart of this fast-growing IT hotspot,” said Klaus Straub, senior vice-president BMW Group Information Management, at the signing ceremony. Christoph Grote, senior vice-president BMW Group Electronics, added: “With the offices in Portugal, we are integrating a key location for development of digital services. At the same time, we will benefit from a growing and dynamic environment with young talents who fit our DNA perfectly and are passionate about our products. This will strengthen our innovation leadership and our vision of the car of the future as intelligent and predictive.”
The main task for Critical TechWorks will be development and operation of high-end software solutions in various areas. Employing agile development methods, the joint venture’s specialists will use BMW Group data to create innovative business models and develop knowledge-based products. The range of innovations extends from in-car infotainment solutions and digital services, to autonomous transport systems for production, to digital sales and aftersales platforms, and highly-integrated solutions for product data management.
Critical Software and the BMW Group have equal representation on the joint venture’s management team:
- From Critical Software
- Rui Cordeiro, chief executive officer
- Paulo Guedes, chief financial officer
- From the BMW Group
- Jochen Kirschbaum, chief operating officer, Onboard Applications
- Martin Zierheim, chief operating officer, Offboard Applications
“Launching a software company like Critical TechWorks is the chance of a lifetime,” according to Rui Cordeiro. “Software has a huge role to play in shaping the future of mobility and the automotive industry as a whole, and we plan to become a reference point not only in Portugal, but across the world.”
Reflecting the major significance of digitisation, the new joint-venture company is geared towards dynamic growth. There are plans to expand the workforce to up to 500 employees in 2019, with further increases going forward.
The joint venture’s Portuguese sites, located just a few miles from the Atlantic coast, provide ideal conditions for efficient cooperation with the BMW Group’s existing IT network, as well as steady growth. Portugal has become an attractive location for new businesses in the field of digitisation, offering a lively, creative and innovative start-up scene. With its excellent transport and telecommunications infrastructure, government investment incentives and high level of political, legal, economic and social stability, Portugal has been especially successful in attracting companies from growth industries in recent years.