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Toyota AI Ventures launches new $100M fund; early-stage startups in autonomous mobility and robotics

Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm Toyota AI Ventures (TAIV) has launched Fund II, a new $100-million fund dedicated to investing in early-stage startups developing technologies and business models in the autonomous mobility and robotics markets.

Led by founding Managing Director Jim Adler, who also serves as executive advisor at the Toyota Research Institute (TRI), Toyota AI Ventures was founded in July 2017 as a subsidiary of TRI. In less than two years, Toyota AI Ventures has invested in a diverse portfolio of 19 startups. Fund II brings the firm’s total assets under management to more than $200 million to invest in and to support promising startups around the world.

Auto manufacturers must participate in the startup ecosystem to stay ahead of the rapid shift in the auto industry,” said Jim Adler, managing director of Toyota AI Ventures. “Investing in startups creates long-term relationships that help Toyota explore the latest innovations in mobility.

Toyota AI Ventures looks for early-stage startups across a range of industries that are applying AI, data, and cloud technologies to tackle important problems and create new market opportunities. Existing investments include such diverse companies as:

  • Elementary Robotics: Developing robotics platforms to assist with automating everyday tasks.

  • Intuition Robotics: Creating social companion technologies using cognitive AI.

  • Joby Aviation: Pioneering an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) passenger aircraft service.

  • May Mobility: Offering communities a Level 4 self-driving shuttle service.

  • Sea Machines: Building autonomous control and navigation systems for the maritime industry.

With Fund II, Toyota AI Ventures will expand its search for talented entrepreneurs to invest in as part of its mission to help discover what’s next for Toyota. Toyota AI Ventures will also use Fund II to continue to strengthen its portfolio services.

In addition to offering capital, TAIV partners with portfolio companies to provide ongoing support and resources to enable their long-term success, including assistance with product-market fit, and an opportunity to connect with Toyota’s deep technical expertise and its extensive global network.

Comments

HarveyD

Future progressive/accelerated development of cognitive AI is essential for near future driverless ADVs, intelligent drones, eVTOLs and robots.

A wise move by Toyota to get involve into this next generation industry.

Lad

It's sad to watch the Japanese makers falling so far behind; The Korean, Chinese and European makers are racing ahead while the Jananeses and U.S. makers hold back choosing to sell hybrids and obsolete ICEVs.

HarveyD

Lets not forget that current HEVs and near future FCEVs and H2 improved facilities have been first developed in Japan. The switch from ICEVs to electrified (BEVs/FCEVs) is mainly dependent on improved batteries and lower cost H2. The arrival of lower cost REs, Electrolysers and Compressors will help to accelerate the H2 economy.

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