Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi have launched a US$1 billion corporate venture fund to focus on investments revolving around mobility services, which includes electrification, autonomous platforms, network connectivity and artificial intelligence, A.I.
The venture is called Alliance Ventures and plans to invest up to $200 million in start-ups and “open innovation partnerships’ in its first year and will continue to do this over the next five years.
Carlos Ghosn, chairman and chief executive officer of Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, said: “Our open innovation approach will allow us to invest and collaborate with start-up companies and technology entrepreneurs, who will benefit from the global scale of the Alliance. This new fund reflects the collaborative spirit and entrepreneurial mind-set at the heart of the Alliance.”
Alliance Ventures will utilise the technologies, developed by the fund and its portfolio, in-house across the three brands that comprise the group.
The fund has also already made its first investment – an equity stake in Ionic Materials, a battery technology developer. Alliance’s investment will help out with research and development as the Massachusetts-based company looks to bring its solid polymer electrolyte to market.
While Volkswagen doesn’t appear to have a dedicated venture fund or investment group, they are also willing to invest in the technology sphere on a similar scale. They are currently making direct investments in companies or setting up joint ventures with other automakers.
Alliance Ventures will be led by François Dossa, who has over 20 years of experience in investment banking, plus six years of experience within the Alliance, most recently, as chief executive officer of Nissan Brazil. The Alliance Ventures team will also draw on the expertise and business opportunities identified by a Cross-Functional Team of experts from Renault, Nissan, and Mitsubishi.
The first offices for the new fund will be in Silicon Valley, Paris, Yokohama and Beijing — which align with the member companies that are committing capital to the alliance. Renault and Nissan will both put up 40% of the capital for the new fund, with Mitsubishi Motors financing the remainder.