Brussels – Bridgestone Europe NV and capital venture firm Iris Capital have announced a corporate venture partnership to support Industry 4.0 developments and transformation technologies in Europe.
The companies have agreed to work together to support “the best entrepreneurs” in the new-mobility and digital-transformation fields, said Bridgestone in a 17 Jan announcement.
The Japanese tire maker will offer industrial expertise to start-ups, while Iris Capital will contribute its experience as a founder of disruptive start-ups.
Iris-founded companies include Uber-like service Careem in Dubai, connected-car platform Mojio and auto parts online retailer Mister Auto.
Explaining the rationale, Bridgestone said it is “rapidly transforming” from a tire manufacturer into a “mobility solution leader”.
To that end, the company is following a “digitally-embedded strategy” to help customers shift towards data-based insight, convenience and maximum efficiency.
Through the new partnership with Iris Capital, Bridgestone expects to “deepen and widen” its open innovation strategy and advance its new mobility ambitions.
“Over the past few years, Bridgestone has invested heavily in its digital transformation,” explained Paolo Ferrari, president and CEO, Bridgestone EMEA and executive VP, Bridgestone Group.
This, he said, includes its ‘digital garage’ innovation platform, through which Bridgestone has improved its sensor and RFID data-collection and analytics capabilities.
“This [partnership]… will allow us to accelerate our strategy while supporting start-ups and exploring new and disruptive models in the mobility eco-system,” Ferrari added.
For Iris Capital, managing partner Antoine Garrigues said the company is ‘increasing and sharpening its focus on new-mobility services and technologies with Bridgestone as its partner.’