Autonomous vehicle investments are part of efforts by automakers to harness technologies such as advanced sensing and artificial intelligence for mobility services. Toyota Research Institute – Advanced Development Inc. said yesterday that it is creating Woven Capital L.P., an $800 million global growth-stage investment fund, to advance its vision of “Mobility to Love, Safety to Live.”
Tokyo-based Toyota Research Institute – Advanced Development (TRI-AD), was founded in March 2018 to develop products enabling Toyota Motor Corp.’s vision of “Mobility for All.” It added to Toyota’s previous $1 billion commitment to robotics and AI research and development.
In January, the company said Woven City would be an incubator for smart city design, connected mobility, and robotics technology from Toyota and its partners. In July, TRI-AD announced plans to form a new holding company called Woven Planet Holdings Inc., which will begin operations in January 2021.
Woven Capital to consolidate Toyota investments
TRI-AD said it plans to expand and transition its operations into a holding company, Woven Planet Holdings; two operating companies, Woven CORE and Woven Alpha; and an investment fund, Woven Capital.
Woven Capital will be part of the new Woven Planet Holdings Group, said TRI-AD. It will invest in growth-stage companies that are developing technologies and business models in areas such as autonomous mobility, automation, AI, machine learning, data and analytics, connectivity, and smart cities. TRI-AD last month said it will participate in the SmartCityX innovation program led by Scrum Ventures LLC.
In addition to sourcing deals from Toyota AI Ventures, Toyota’s early-stage venture capital fund, Woven Capital will also invest in other venture capital funds in order to broaden and accelerate its global coverage.
“With diverse projects such as Arene, the Automated Mapping Platform, and Woven City, the Woven Planet Holdings Group has set ambitious goals for itself, and we will need a variety of partners and technologies to achieve those goals,” stated James Kuffner, CEO of TRI-AD. “Woven Capital’s investments will enable us to weave together a global portfolio of partners and technologies that will deliver long-term value to our customers, stakeholders, and society. Woven Capital will also enable us to make growth-stage investments in companies in the Toyota AI Ventures portfolio as they look to raise additional capital.”
Arene is an open platform developed by TRI-AD to create programmable vehicles. It includes elements and application programming interfaces (APIs) for vehicle safety and is intended to accelerate development from concept to deployment. It also allows developers and OEMs to continuously update their software in an agile way while maintaining a high level of safety and security, according to TRI-AD.
The Automated Mapping Platform (AMP) is an open software platform to allow companies to create and distribute high-precision maps, as well as share data on autonomous vehicles.
|Fund name||Woven Capital L.P.|
|Establishment||January 2021 (planned)|
|Total investment||$800 million (U.S.)|
|Operating period||10 years|
|Management company||Woven Capital Management Company LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Woven Planet Holdings Inc.|
|Investment targets||Growth-stage companies with innovative technologies and business models in areas such as autonomous mobility, automation, AI, machine learning, data and analytics, connectivity, and smart cities|
Woven Capital will begin operations in January 2021. In the meantime, TRI-AD said it is “looking to recruit a diverse team of passionate investment professionals and support staff who are committed to changing the world.” The company noted that it is committed to an inclusive and diverse venture capital ecosystem, so it encourages “people from historically under-represented groups to apply.” People interested in joining Woven Capital can apply through TRI-AD’s website.