Automotive companies all around the globe are collaborating, sharing technology, and comparing strategies to try and gain a competitive edge. There have been lots of new investments announced in the autonomous driving space with partnerships popping up left and right. Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi is making sure they don’t get left behind, announcing a joint effort called Alliance Ventures. It’s a venture capital fund that plans to invest a billion dollars over the next five years.
This first year, Alliance Ventures expects to invest up to $200 million in start-ups and partnerships with entrepreneurs. The fund's focus is on vehicle electrification, autonomous systems, connectivity and artificial intelligence. The car company trio hopes that the Alliance Ventures will become the largest corporate venture capital fund in the automotive industry over the next few years. This $200 million comes in addition to the nearly $10 billion in total annual investments the three auto manufacturers do on their own.
They’ve already got their sights set on their first target. The first deal will be an investment in Ionic Materials. Ionic is a U.S.-based company that is developing solid-state cobalt-free battery materials. The deal includes an equity stake and a joint development agreement for the purpose of research and development collaborations.
The fund will be headed by Francois Dossa, a man with 20 years of investment banking experience who most recently worked as the Chief Executive Officer of Nissan Brazil. Funding will be split with 40 percent each coming from both Renault and Nissan, with the remaining 20 percent provided by Mitsubishi.
Speaking on the joint venture, 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."
There’s certainly no shortage of money being thrown around by automakers recently. The race for autonomous cars and artificial intelligence continues to heat up.