A3Ventures moves to Downtown Berkeley, shares building with campus departments

A large multi-story building covered in glass windows soars in all directions of the frame. A small wooden colored sign reading "Berkeley" can be seen below.
Isabella Ko/Staff

A3Ventures, the innovation lab and capital investment engine of AAA Northern California, Nevada and Utah, or AAA NCNU, moved to Downtown Berkeley in November 2018, as first reported by Berkeleyside.

According to their website, A3Ventures was created in 2016 to invest in ideas and build products “that help our Members and communities navigate the future.” A3Ventures opened its new location at 2121 Berkeley Way, sharing a building with the campus Graduate School of Education, Department of Psychology and the School of Public Health.

Both A3Ventures and campus departments were unavailable to comment as of press time.

According to Berkeleyside, A3Ventures, formerly based in Oakland’s Jack London Square, signed a ten-year lease to move into the UC Berkeley owned building in order to expand its operations, recruit UC Berkeley students and build more connections with the local community.

“With this premier location in Downtown Berkeley and our proximity to a world-class university, we’ll be able to recruit top talent, deepen our relationship with the local communities where we operate and continue to innovate new products and services for AAA Members and the general public,” Kalpesh Joshi, head of A3Ventures Innovation Lab said in an interview with Berkeleyside.

In April 2017, A3Ventures launched its first product, the GIG Car Share transportation service, in Oakland and Berkeley to help community members avoid the price of parking. The GIG Car Share service attempted to solve this problem by purchasing permits for parking spaces. The service allows customers to “get in” a nearby service car at one location and drop off the vehicle at another spot without returning it to its original place.

A3Ventures is expanding its Oakland and Berkeley GIG Car Share program to other locations in the Bay Area and wants to further expand to Sacramento using completely electric cars, according to Berkeleyside.

Berkeleyside added that A3Ventures also plans to move its Autonomous Vehicle Strategy team to Berkeley after acquiring GoMentum Station, which is the largest facility for autonomous vehicle testing in the country.

According to A3Ventures’ website, the company works in more than just the transportation sector — it also explores home, life management and financial services. In April 2018, the company launched AAA House Manager, which gives customers complete routine house maintenance at least twice a year.

“AAA is committed to transforming our organization to be prepared for a driver-less future,” said Suna Taymaz, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer for AAA NCNU, in an interview with Berkeleyside. “Helping the public travel more safely has always been AAA’s priority, and our focus at A3Ventures and GoMentum Station will be ensuring these new technologies are developed smartly and implemented safely into our transportation system.”

Yao Huang is the lead research and ideas reporter. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @Yhoneplus.