Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, the automotive alliance, has announced the launch of Alliance Ventures, a corporate venture capital fund that plans to invest $1bn to support open innovation over the next five years.
In its first year, the fund expects to invest up to $200m 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.
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.”
The new fund 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.
Support for entrepreneurs
The fund will make strategic investments at all start-up stages and will incubate both new automotive entrepreneurs and forge new partnerships.
The first deal by Alliance Ventures will be a strategic investment in Ionic Materials, a US-based company which is developing solid-state cobalt-free battery materials.
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 be led by Francois 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.
Renault (40%), Nissan (40%) and Mitsubishi Motors (20%) will jointly fund the entity, which will have a dedicated investment committee to make investment decisions and monitor their performance.