Mitsubishi have announced the launch of Alliance Ventures, a new corporate venture capital fund that plans to invest up to $1 billion to support open innovation over the next five years.
Renault (40 per cent), Nissan (40 per cent) and Mitsubishi Motors (20 per cent) will jointly fund the entity, which will have a dedicated investment committee to make investment decisions and monitor their performance.
In its first year, the fund expects to invest up to $200 million in start-ups and open innovation partnerships with technology entrepreneurs focused on new mobility, including vehicle electrification, autonomous systems, connectivity and artificial intelligence, said a statement from the company.
With further annual investments, Alliance Ventures is set to become the largest corporate venture capital fund in the automotive industry over the period of Alliance 2022, the strategic midterm plan launched last year by Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, it said.
Carlos Ghosn, chairman and chief executive 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 investment initiative is designed to attract the world’s most promising automotive-technology start-ups to the Alliance,” stated Ghosn.
“This new fund reflects the collaborative spirit and entrepreneurial mind-set at the heart of the alliance,” he added.
The fund is unique because it offers potential partners access to the global scale and scope of Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, which sold more than 10 million vehicles in 2017 through 10 separate brands with a presence in all major automotive markets, said a statement.
Alliance Ventures will invest in start-ups to bring new technologies and businesses to the alliance while ensuring a fair financial return. The fund will make strategic investments at all start-up stages and will incubate both new automotive entrepreneurs and forge new partnerships, it added.
The first deal by Alliance Ventures will be a strategic investment in Ionic Materials, a promising US-based company which is developing solid-state cobalt-free battery materials, it said.
The equity acquisition coincides with the execution of a joint-development agreement with the alliance for the purpose of R&D cooperation.
Ionic, based in Massachusetts, US, is the developer of a pioneering solid polymer electrolyte that enables improved performance and cost effectiveness of high-energy density batteries for automotive and multiple other applications, it added.
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.
This initiative complements the alliance strategy to seek incremental revenues, cost savings and cost-avoidance in areas including electrification, autonomous drive systems and vehicle connectivity.
By the end of its strategic plan, the alliance will launch 12 pure electric models, utilising common EV platforms and components, while also bringing to market 40 vehicles with autonomous drive technology and developing robo-vehicle ride-hailing services, it said.
As part of the Alliance 2022 strategic plan, Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi is forecasting that the combined revenues of its member companies will reach $240 billion and that annual unit sales will exceed 14 million by the end of 2022, it added. – TradeArabia News Service