Volvo's Venture Capital Arm Invests in Silicon Valley VC Firm Autotech Ventures

Volvo's Venture Capital Arm Invests in Silicon Valley VC Firm Autotech Ventures

Author: Eric Walz   

Silicon Valley companies working on advanced automotive technology are continuing to attract the attention of leading venture capital firms, the latest being the venture capital arm of Swedish automaker Volvo.

Volvo Group Venture Capital AB announced its invested in Autotech Ventures, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm focused on start-ups in the transportation sector. Volvo Group Venture Capital AB was established in 1997 to seek out new business opportunities in advanced mobility for Volvo Group.

Autotech Ventures, which is based in Menlo Park, California, manages over $200 million in venture capital. Among its investments are sensor fusion startup DeepScale, which was recently acquired by Tesla, and automotive sensing company Metawave which is working on antenna and radar solution for connected cars.

Autotech leverages its industry network to companies recruit talent and connect startups with larger corporations as their scale-up partners. The VC firm views itself as a "talent scout" for early stage technologies, making investments in companies working on autonomous driving, automotive cybersecurity and other automotive "next big things." 

Among Autotech Ventures more prominent investments is a $140 million investment it made in ride-hailing company Lyft in 2016.

The investment in Autotech Ventures also brings the Volvo Group  a bit closer to some of the innovative Silicon Valley startups working on advanced automotive technology.

"Through the co-operation with Autotech Ventures we look forward to interact with more world-class start-ups transforming our industry," says Anna Westerberg acting CEO of Volvo Group Venture Capital and Senior Vice President, Volvo Group Connected Solutions.

The Volvo Group's venture capital arm focuses on investments autonomous driving, connected car technology and electromobility. The scope of investment includes companies in Europe and North America. Many of the North American investments are tech companies and startups in Silicon Valley.

With its investment in Autotech Ventures, Volvo joins Toyota in establishing a venture capital arm to startups working on technology for the auto industry. 

In May 2019, The Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm Toyota AI Ventures (TAIV) announced a new $100 million venture capital fund dedicated to investing in early-stage startups developing new technologies such as autonomous mobility and robotics.

"Auto manufacturers must participate in the startup ecosystem to stay ahead of the rapid shift in the auto industry," said Jim Adler, Managing Director of Toyota AI Ventures in May. "Investing in startups creates long-term relationships that help Toyota explore the latest innovations in mobility."

TAIV was founded in July 2017 as a subsidiary of the Toyota Research Institute (TRI). Like Volvo's VC arm, it's focused on autonomous driving and AI research for the Toyota Motor Corporation. TRI is working on cutting-edge technology that may eventually end up in future Toyota models.

Volvo did not reveal the amount of the investment in Autotech Ventures, but said the transaction has no significant impact on the Volvo Group's earnings or overall financial position. 

Eric Walz
Eric Walz
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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