How Porsche Digital Democratizes Car Enthusiasm
Stephan Baral, Managing Director at Porsche Digital and Head of Porsche Ventures USA, recently participated in a panel at the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference and festival in Austin, Texas. He was joined by four US-based colleagues from Porsche Ventures and Porsche Digital.
Together, they talked at length about breaking barriers to car enthusiasm and shared their perspectives on how tradition and innovation relate to one another.
When most people think of Porsche, they undoubtedly think of our iconic sports cars. Porsche Digital, a subsidiary of Porsche AG that was founded in 2016, looks beyond the car and invests in new business models that celebrate everything it means to be a car enthusiast. But what exactly are Porsche Digital’s in-house teams working on and what types of start-up investments is Porsche Ventures focusing on? At our recent panel at SXSW 2022, we pulled back the curtain and provided answers to these and other questions.
My colleagues and I have two central topics in mind: investments and products. Porsche Ventures invests in founders who dare to build their dreams, and Porsche Digital creates value and sparks excitement through digital engineering and innovative products. Democratizing Car Enthusiasm at Porsche Digital is an effort to encourage (i) inclusivity and diversity, (ii) awareness, (iii) knowledge sharing, and (iv) attainable pricing with regard to car enthusiasm.
Digital innovation at the nexus of new business models, automotive, and emerging technologies
Among other things, we discussed Porsche Ventures’ and Porsche Digital’s approach and business focus, which, in a nutshell, can be summarized as follows:
1. Inside-Out: Creating and scaling independent digital businesses
2. Outside-in: Extending Porsche’s ecosystem through investments
3. Leading strategic initiatives to empower Porsche’s digital transformation
Car enthusiasm has many different facets. Two of them show our in-house products Marqued and DesignCar, which both have the aim to lower the barrier to enter into the car enthusiast world. Porsche Digital is launching products that are brand-agnostic because our mission is to preserve automotive heritage and to win new people for the space. This can only succeed if we respond to the needs of new enthusiasts and use this knowledge to help shape the future of the automotive industry. This is important for all brands, not just for Porsche.
Furthermore, Porsche is active in the venture capital industry because we need to have our finger on the pulse of the market. Our venture capital activities enable us to better understand different products, markets, business models and success factors. That’s why, Porsche Ventures serves as a satellite into the startup world, while also helping us to remain agile as an organization.
Addressing people beyond the automotive industry
I had the feeling that SXSW appeals to a very different but engaged audience than all the other trade shows I’ve been to. We’re not talking about people who have been Porsche enthusiasts or car fans all their lives; and in a way that’s exactly the target group we want to address. It helps us connect with the talents we want to hire but also with the customers of the future.
We thoroughly enjoyed hosting the panel and hope it was an informative and enjoyable event for all involved. Special thanks to my colleagues Gabriel Alvarado, Stephanie Cherrin, Andrew Chang, and Max Esslinger!
About this publication: Where innovation meets tradition. There’s more to Porsche than sports cars — we are developing new digital products and services — always with our customers in focus. On our Medium blog, we tell these stories. It’s about our #nextvisions, emerging technologies, and the people that drive our digital journey. If you want to know more, follow us on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.