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Sophia Nadur worked for many years in the global consumer goods and services industry around the globe, before joining the energy giant bp in 2018. Today she’s employed as a managing partner at bp ventures, where she is fully focused on deal sourcing in the area of e-mobility and clean energy technology. 

bp ventures recently made its first direct investment in India, investing $13 million in the integrated EV ride-hailing and charging company, BluSmart.

On this week’s Mobility Moments, we talk to Nadur about looking for technology and business models that will help decarbonise our cities and companies.

Describe the main aims of bp ventures?

bp is focused becoming a net zero business by 2050 or sooner – this will involve performing while transforming. bp ventures is focused on making sure we rapidly transform! That means being bold, spearheading the change and seeking out the market disruptors.

We do this by identifying and investing in game-changing technologies and businesses that can help us reimagine our global energy system.

How does bp – the parent company – benefit from your investments? 

bp ventures is playing a central role in helping bp deliver on our ambition to be a net zero company by 2050 or sooner – and help the world get to net zero. 

What types of start-up do you tend to focus on?

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bp ventures is a stage-agnostic investor; we invest in businesses from Series A up to late-stage rounds. Our investments align with bp’s core businesses: production & operations, customers & products, gas & low carbon energy, trading & shipping and innovation & engineering. 

Unlike a traditional VCs, we are both investor and end-user of the technologies in which we invest.

What attracted you to invest in BluSmart?

BluSmart is India’s first and largest zero-emission ride-hailing and EV charging service, aiming to deliver safer, cleaner, and more sustainable mobility. It helps solve the dual challenge of reducing emissions while providing cleaner mobility services for an ever-growing urban population.

The investment will help bp deliver its aim to become a leader in India’s fuel and mobility market, and to provide integrated energy and mobility solutions to help customers reduce emissions across the world. 

Why enter into the Indian market?

India’s GDP is projected to become the world’s third largest by 2030. The UN predicts that the urban population size will nearly double from 2018 to 2050.

Mobility as a service is projected to make up 15% of the 1.1 trillion kilometres to be travelled by passenger vehicles in India by 2030, compared to 5% of the 477 billion kilometres travelled today.

bp’s advanced mobility ambition is to become a leading provider of integrated mobility solutions for a future world – investing in BluSmart and, in India, is closely aligned with this ambition. 

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How does bp ventures help start-ups grow? 

We are motivated by creating exponential value by connecting start-ups into our innovation engine, with bp’s global business. We think in network effects rather than in one offs. We are a hands-on investor, providing more than just capital. We bring experience, scale and a dedicated nurturing approach to all of our investments.

The total bp ventures fund now stands at almost 831 million dollars, invested in 64 companies, the majority of which are actively managed by the team.

What will urban mobility look like by 2030?

As the mobility revolution continues, the dual challenge is to reduce emissions while providing mobility services for an ever-growing urban population. We see electrification, connected fleets and mobility on demand as key to solving the mobility challenge.

bp ventures is investing in future mobility solutions, alongside a range of other new energy frontiers.

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