The Renault Nissan Mitsubishi Alliance has used the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to launch a US$1 billion (A$1.28 billion) venture capital fund which will help attract new technologies and ideas from start-ups and open innovation initiatives.
The deal was announced by Alliance chairman Carlos Ghosn at the tech event, with US$200 million (A$255.7 million) in funding per year to be made available over the next five years as the French-Japanese giant seeks to advance in the fast-moving fields of autonomous technology, electric vehicles, and artificial intelligence.
Management of the capital fund will be handled by a new, separate entity known as Alliance Ventures, run by long-time investment banker Francois Dossa, who has spent the last six years with the Alliance.
Alliance Ventures will establish offices in Paris, California’s Silicon Valley, Yokohama and Beijing initially with Ghosn suggesting hubs in Tel Aviv and Mumbai are on the agenda in the future.
“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,” explained Ghosn. “This new fund reflects the collaborative spirit and entrepreneurial mind-set at the heart of the Alliance.”
Ghosn described Alliance Ventures as a “one-stop shop” for tech start-ups, which will work alongside one member of the trio during a product’s development before sharing it across all three brands to streamline the process whilst avoiding unnecessary and potentially expensive duplication.
Alliance Ventures detailed its its first deal as part of the CES announcement, with US company Ionic Materials, which is looking to develop solid-state cobalt-free batteries. Ionic is aiming to produce new polymer electrolyte materials that would allow for the creation of high-energy density batteries for electric cars.