Toyota is the latest Fortune 500 company to launch an AI focused venture capital fund. The initial early-stage fund will deploy $100 million and operate as a subsidiary of the Toyota Research Institute.
The automaker has strategically positioned itself as an ROI rather than strategic-focused fund — meaning that it aims to profit like any other VC firm.
Jim Adler will serve as managing director of the fund. He has been serving as vice president of Toyota Research and comes from a product background.
Adler and the rest of the team at Toyota AI Ventures have made three investments to date. These include:
Nauto — Developing driverless car technology
SLAMcore — Building visual tracking and mapping algorithms
Intuition Robotics — Creating a robot companion for older adults
Running effective corporate venture arms is difficult, and it’s even more difficult when dealing with AI startups. The capital-saturated AI startup ecosystem needs data, genuine corporate customers and advisors with product expertise
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