Toyota is currently the world’s largest and most valuable automaker. They have 364,445 employees worldwide and as of September 2018, they were the sixth-largest company in the world by revenue, bringing in a staggering $265 billion in 2018.
- Toyota AI Ventures is a subsidiary of Toyota Research Institute, a branch of Toyota Motor Corp focused on next generation technology.
- Toyota AI Ventures just started a $100 million fund to advance research in everything from Artificial Intelligence to flying cars.
- The plan is to help push cutting edge technology to fruition that can later benefit Toyota Motors.
While Toyota is first and foremost an auto manufacturer, they have the funds to invest in other industries and new ideas, which could help their company grow later on down the line.
Silicon Valley based venture capital firm Toyota AI Ventures announced Fund II, a new $100 million fund dedicated to investing in early-stage startups developing disruptive technologies and business models in the autonomous mobility and robotics markets.
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 $200M.
“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:
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 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.