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Jaguar Land Rover launches InMotion, a startup studio to build mobility apps and services

TechCrunch TechCrunch 11/04/2016 Steve O'Hear

Corporates are increasingly fearful of contracting innovator’s dilemma, a disease so deadly that, if it isn’t caught early, can be fatal. And in an attempt to vaccinate against the disease, said corporates are either acquiring, investing in, or incubating startups of their own.

The latest to hedge against innovator’s dilemma is car maker Jaguar Land Rover, which today is unveiling InMotion, a separate “innovation” company charged with building mobility apps and services that play to the strengths of its parent company’s premium car brand.

The new Jaguar Land Rover “spin out”, which itself may eventually spin out startups from the products it creates, is essentially operating as a company within a company, and with the autonomy to innovate at a faster pace than is typical of the traditional car industry.

As Adrian Hallmark, Group Strategy Director for Jaguar Land Rover, tells TechCrunch, a new car is typically 3-4 years in the making and with a life span that sees it stay around for nearly a decade. In contrast, the digital world enables products to come to market in a matter of months not years, and it’s within this context that InMotion is being given the freedom and financial support to try new ideas and see what works.

Initially those ideas — which Hallmark characterised as helping customers get from A to B more efficiently or in more premium ways, but stopped short of providing any further details on what exactly the team is already working on — are being generated within Jaguar Land Rover. However, moving forward InMotion plans to also reach out to the wider startup community for potential collaboration.

That led me to ask one simple question: Is InMotion a company builder, incubator or investor? The answer, says Hallmark, is it’s a bit of all three.

Where’s there’s a good strategic fit with Jaguar Land Rover’s existing customer base and brand, products and services developed by InMotion will likely remain in-house and continue to be solely supported by its parent company.

However, where an idea still has legs but isn’t such a good fit with Jaguar Land Rover, there remains the possibility to spin it out independently, including taking external investment. In effect, that makes InMotion a business that aims to build new businesses.

Welcome to the fast lane Jaguar Land Rover.

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