The world’s largest automotive collaboration has launched Alliance Ventures, a new venture capital fund that will invest up to $1bn over the next five years in new mobility solutions.
Alliance Ventures has been launched by the Franco-Japanese Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, a strategic partnership established in 1999. 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. The initial $200m investment is in addition to R&D investments by the Alliance members, which are in excess of €8.5bn.
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.”
Alliance Ventures’ first investment is being made into Ionic Materials, a US-based company developing solid-state cobalt-free battery materials. Based in Massachusetts, Ionic has developed a solid polymer electrolyte claimed to enable improved performance and cost effectiveness of high-energy density batteries for the automotive sector and other industries.
According to the Alliance, the new funding vehicle is in line with its strategy to pursue incremental revenues, cost savings and cost-avoidance in areas including electrification, autonomous drive systems and vehicle connectivity.
As part of its Alliance 2022 strategic plan, Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi is forecasting combined revenues of $240bn and annual unit sales of over 14 million by the end of 2022.
Alliance Ventures is set to become the largest corporate venture capital fund in the automotive industry over the period of Alliance 2022. It 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.