Mike Smeed: InMotion Ventures

Cars have been on their way to essentially becoming rolling computers for quite some time now. They are better connected, increasingly electrified, and packed with features to make the driver’s life easier.

Mike Smeed, managing director of Jaguar LandRover’s (JLR) venturing unit, InMotion Ventures, has been in the CVC business for only one year, but given that automotive OEMs are already designing the cars of 2030 and beyond, his outlook needs to be in decades.

Having previously been at JLR since 2018 across a couple of finance-related roles, Smeed is one of the relative minority of CVC unit heads who were brought in from the operational side of a parent company, and talks about the value that company insiders can bring to a role that is more often than not the domain of people with years of venture experience under their belt.

Being new to venture, the learning curve has been steep, specially during a time when InMotion’s approach has changed to focus on the more strategic benefits they could bring to JLR. He talks about how he wishes he would have had more engagement with the portfolio companies when he first began, the importance of being able to demonstrate tangible results – not just financial, but strategic – to senior leadership, as well as minding the power law – where a minority of investments can make up the bulk of returns, taking pressure off other investments that you can take more learnings from.

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