02:16 PM

GM Establishes $100 Million Venture Capital Fund

General Motors Ventures will invest in automotive-related technologies.

Less than a year after it emerged from bankruptcy, General Motors reported that it has funded a venture capital company with an initial $100 million to invest in automotive-related technologies.

While GM has supported ethanol fuel technologies and will likely continue to do so, the firm has also invested in some high-tech endeavors. It currently trails Ford Motor, which has made major investment commitments for GPS, iTunes tagging, Opera software, and electronics technologies. GM also has a seasoned high-tech leader in CEO Ed Whitacre Jr., who previously was chairman and CEO of AT&T.

General Motors Ventures will be led by Jon Lauckner, who will serve as president of the VC unit beginning July 1. Lauckner will also continue as a board member of GM, suggesting he will likely exercise considerable clout for the VC operation. Lauckner will report to Stephen Girsky, vice chairman of GM's corporate strategy.

"We are constantly looking for ways to deliver the best technology for our customers," said Girsky in a statement. "Our goal is to nurture these innovative technologies to help bring them to market, and to ensure our customers have access to the best technology available."

Slightly more than 60% of GM is owned by the U.S. government, and the company is working to pay back the $50 billion it was loaned by the government to bail it out of bankruptcy. To date the company has paid the government $6.7 billion, and it has hopes of repaying the remaining $43.3 billion by selling stock to the public, possibly as soon as later this year.

GM's former management left under pressure and Whitacre came out of retirement to run the company. He created AT&T after assembling a group of former Baby Bells, cobbling them together around Southwestern Bell. GM recently posted net income of $865 million in its first quarter.

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