January 10, 2018 | News Brief | Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, a leading automotive alliance, has 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. 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.
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.
Carlos Ghosn, chairman and CEO 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.”
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. 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, 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.
Alliance Ventures will define innovation areas and geographic markets for investment, working with existing research and advanced engineering teams, and will recruit venture capital experts to develop the platform. It is expected to be co-located in Silicon Valley, Paris, Yokohama and Beijing, close to the technology and research centers of the Alliance member companies, as well as to areas with strong innovation ecosystems.
Renault (40 percent), Nissan (40 percent) and Mitsubishi Motors (20 percent) will jointly fund the entity, which will have a dedicated investment committee to make investment decisions and monitor their performance.
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.