Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi establish Alliance Ventures to invest up to $1 bln

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi establish Alliance Ventures to invest up to $1 bln

But that does not stop the world's largest automotive alliance from its plan to invest and accelerate growth and innovation in mobility technologies.

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. The funding entity will have a dedicated investment committee to make investment decisions and monitor their performance.

As the fund grows along with the number of strategic investments, Alliance Ventures will operate as an incubation center for partnerships, automotive entrepreneurs as well as the flawless place for the supergroup to begin creating more partnerships.

The first investment will go to Ionic Materials, an American venture business developing materials for an entirely solid-state battery, Ghosn said at a news conference on the first day of the CES - the world's largest consumer electronics fair - that kicked off here on the same day.

Called Alliance Ventures, the fund has already made its first investment, taking an equity stake for an undisclosed amount in Ionic Materials - a Bill Joy-backed battery technology developer. With the investment the Alliance has agreed to help out with research and development as the Massachusetts-based company looks to bring its solid polymer electrolyte to market.

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.

The new venture firm will be led by François Dossa, who previously served as the chief executive officer of Nissan Brazil (and has a background in investment banking).

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 fund will have offices in numerous major tech hubs around the world, such as the Silicon Valley region, Paris, Tel Aviv, Tokyo/Yokohama, and Beijing, Dossa said.

"The way we're organized now is not sufficient", Carlos Ghosn, chairman of the alliance, said in a Bloomberg Television interview at CES in Las Vegas, citing a need for the creativity of startups and outside partners. The formation of the alliance fund follows similar moves by competitors including General Motors Co.'s GM Ventures LLC, BMW Group's i Ventures and Toyota Motor Corp.'s Toyota AI Ventures.

The autonomous driving vehicle market is getting saturated.

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