UP.Partners today announced the final close of its inaugural $230M early stage venture capital fund dedicated to supporting companies that are transforming the moving world.
The movement of people and goods is the underlying fabric of society. Transportation and logistics represent 10% of global GDP, which is approximately $10T annually. With transportation responsible for 29% of global CO2 emissions, emerging technologies are creating opportunities for fundamental reinvention of mobility solutions that are cleaner, faster, safer and lower cost. Examples include package delivery drones, electric vertical aircraft for urban air mobility, software for precise positioning, hydrogen powered airliners, sustainable aviation fuel, ultra low cost LIDAR sensors, micro-mobility scooters and e-bikes, advanced manufacturing techniques, electricity grid enhancement for recharging, and more.
Building a Virtuous Ecosystem Focused on Mobility’s Future
UP.Partners has assembled a world class consortium of leaders in aerospace, automotive, maritime, hardware, software, telecom, finance and media to harness the movement of electrons, atoms and capital to help humanity go UP. Investors include Alaska Air Group (NYSE: ALK); ARK Invest Founder and CEO Cathie Wood, Woven Capital, the investment arm of the Woven Planet Group, a Toyota Motor Corporation subsidiary; privately-held industrial company Standard Industries; global real estate developer Hillwood, a Perot Company; leading ship management company OSM Maritime, and more.
“Our investment in UP.Partners demonstrates Alaska Air Group’s continued commitment to supporting a cleaner and more accessible world of transport,” says Alaska Air Group CEO Ben Minicuccui. “The UP.Partners team, portfolio and ecosystem of corporate partners and investors is truly world class, and we are proud to partner with UP.Partners on this journey of supporting early stage technology companies that are transforming the moving world.”
“Transforming mobility through technology is central to the mission of Woven Planet, and UP.Partners’ investment strategy is in complete lockstep,” said Betty Bryant, Principal, Woven Capital. “Woven Capital is excited to team up with UP.Partners as they encourage entrepreneurs who are focused on wide-ranging solutions that allow people, goods and information to move more seamlessly, cost-effectively, and sustainably than ever before, benefiting humanity and the health of the planet for all.”
The Davos of Mobility
A critical element of the UP.Partners strategy is the annual UP.Summit which brings together entrepreneurs, executives, and investors with the common goal of improving mobility. The UP.Summit is hosted in alternating years in Bentonville, Arkansas and Dallas, Texas, co-hosted by Steuart and Tom Walton, and Ross Perot Jr, respectively.
From the time of its inception in 2017, the UP.Summit has grown into the most important annual gathering for mobility’s boldest innovators, investors and corporations.
The impact of the UP.Summit has been significant, resulting in direct investments exceeding $450M into companies that have participated to date. Chairman of the Perot Group, Ross Perot Jr. said, “UP.Partners has created the Davos of mobility with the UP.Summit, bringing the best ideas and minds together to help humanity go UP. We are proud to partner in moving this revolution in transportation forward.”
UP.Partners has already made 10 investments in companies including leading flight autonomy company Skydio, manufacturing quality assurance leader UnitX, and electric vertical aircraft developer Beta Technologies to name a few. Kyle Clark, CEO of Beta Technologies, which recently closed a $400M investment round led by Amazon Climate Pledge Fund and Fidelity said, “UP.Partners uniquely understands the potential and scale of new air mobility and brings visionaries together to realize that potential unmatched by other venture investors – the industry is fortunate to have this team leading the way.”
Managing Partners Putting Booster Rockets on a Mission to Help More Founders Go UP
UP.Partners was co-founded by serial aviation and technology entrepreneurs Ben Marcus and Cyrus Sigari. Marcus and Sigari co-founded jetAVIVA in 2006, which today is the leading seller of business aircraft worldwide, and AirMap in 2014, which is the leading digital, automated air traffic management platform for drones and flying cars.
Joining Marcus and Sigari as co-managing partner and chairman of the firm is four time Forbes Midas List investor, Adam Grosser. Prior to joining UP.Partners, Grosser has enjoyed a diverse career as an engineer, successful founder, and long-time investor. Most recently, he led Silver Lake Kraftwerk, the Impact Strategy of Silver Lake Partners for a decade. He has invested in numerous top performing climate-focused companies including Tesla, Solar City, EnerNoc, Control4 and Silver Spring Networks.
Ally Warson, formerly of ACME Capital, also joins the UP team as Principal. UP.Partners’ Venture Partner ecosystem includes the co-creator of Google Earth Brian McClendon, former CEO of Activision Eric Hirshberg, co-founder & CEO of startup air carrier Aero Uma Subramanian, and more.
Transportation is the underlying fabric of society. UP.Partners invests in the pioneering entrepreneurs who are creating the key enabling technologies that help move people and goods cleaner, faster, safer, and more efficiently in a multi-dimensional world. UP.Partners with some of the world’s most innovative investors and companies including Alaska Airlines, ARK Invest, and Woven Capital, the investment arm of Toyota subsidiary Woven Planet Group. UP.Summit convenes the mobility community’s brightest minds each year to help humanity go UP. Together, the UP community is transforming the moving world. For more information, visit UP.Partners or follow on Twitter @UpPartnersVC or LinkedIn.