Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, the world's leading automotive alliance, has launched Alliance Ventures, a new corporate venture capital fund that plans to invest up to $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 over the period of Alliance 2022, the strategic midterm plan launched last year by Renault-Nissan-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.
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.
The equity acquisition coincides with the execution of a joint-development agreement with the Alliance for the purpose of R&D cooperation.
Ionic 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 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.
Carlos Ghosn, chairman and CEO of Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, said: "This investment initiative is designed to attract the world's most promising automotive-technology start-ups to the Alliance."
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