Toyota creates $100 million venture fund for tech startups

on Jul12

Gill Pratt: “TRI is growing quickly and we recognize the critical importance of expanding our collaboration with the world’s brightest entrepreneurial talent.”

SAN FRANCISCO — Toyota Research Institute, an r&d subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corp., is investing $100 million to start a venture capital fund for technology startups.

The automaker said on Tuesday that the investment arm, named Toyota AI Ventures, will focus on artificial intelligence, robotics, autonomous driving and data and cloud technologies. Jim Adler, vice president of data and business development at TRI, will serve as managing director of the fund.

“A lot of disruptive technologies come from startups and we want to help them be successful,” Adler said in a statement.

Along with initial investments, Toyota AI Ventures will consult and mentor early-stage startups at TRI’s Silicon Valley headquarters.

“TRI is growing quickly and we recognize the critical importance of expanding our collaboration with the world’s brightest entrepreneurial talent,” TRI CEO Gill Pratt said in a statement.

Nauto, a Silicon Valley startup that uses artificial intelligence to monitor driver behavior, SLAMCore, a British drone and autonomous vehicle mapping company, and Intuition Robotics, a robotics startup in Israel, have received investments from TRI and will be assumed by Toyota AI Ventures.



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