Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, the world’s leading automotive alliance, 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.
The new fund is unique because it 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.
Alliance Ventures will invest in start-ups to bring new technologies and businesses to the Alliance while ensuring a fair financial return. The fund will make strategic investments at all start-up stages and will incubate both new automotive entrepreneurs and forge new partnerships.
By making such investments, Alliance Ventures will help identify and support the development of new technologies for potential use by Alliance members. Such initiatives are aligned with the objectives of Alliance 2022, which aims to strengthen cooperation and to double the annualized synergies generated by Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors to more than €10 billion by the end of 2022.
The $200 million initial venture capital investment comes in addition to more than €8.5 billion in total annual research and development investments by the Alliance members.
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. 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.
This initiative complements the Alliance strategy to seek incremental revenues, cost savings and cost-avoidance in areas including electrification, autonomous drive systems and vehicle connectivity. The Alliance will launch 12 pure electric models by the end of the plan, utilizing common EV platforms and components, while also bringing to market 40 vehicles with autonomous drive technology and developing robo-vehicle ride-hailing services.
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%), 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.
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.