Toyota Launches Global Invitation for Early Stage Startups

In an effort to find and fund early-stage startups building solutions for smart and connected cities, Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm Toyota AI Ventures, launched a global “call for innovation” today at CES® 2020.

The call gives qualified entrepreneurs from around the world to receive around 500,000 and $2 million in funding from Toyota AI Ventures. The particular areas of interest Toyota AI wants to solve and improve include the following:

  • Improving accessibility and mobility for all, including autonomous and personal vehicles
  • Reducing congestion and pollution through electric and shared mobility services
  • Increasing efficiency through smarter home and building construction
  • Assisting people with everyday tasks and personal care

Toyota AI Ventures will collaborate with Toyota Research Institute – Advanced Development (TRI-AD) and Toyota Research Institute (TRI) on this venture. Located in Tokyo, Japan, TRI-AD is part of Woven City, Toyota's vision for a state-of-the-art connected city built on the site of the Higashi-Fuji plant in Susono, Japan.

“TRI-AD is very excited to collaborate with Toyota AI Ventures on this new smart and connected cities call for innovation,” said Dr. James Kuffner, Chief Executive Officer of TRI-AD and Senior Fellow of Toyota Motor Corporation.

“The livability and sustainability of our planet’s future urban centers will require many forms of new technology to be developed, and Toyota intends to work with partners to realize President Toyoda’s vision for Woven City,” he added.

Second Call for Toyota AI

This invitation to startup companies marks Toyota AI Ventures' second call for innovation. Their first call in 2018 was made in collaboration with TRI, and focused on mobile manipulation technologies for robotics that led to an investment in Elementary Robotics.

To date, Toyota AI Ventures has invested a total number of 27 portfolio companies in Israel, United States, and the United Kingdom. These include Boxbot, Bumblebee Spaces, Joby Aviation, Moodify, Nauto, Revel, and SLAMcore.

The call for innovation is open now through April 30, 2020, and submissions will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Startups that apply will be evaluated on these areas: quality of their team, technology, business model, and go-to-market strategy. They will be subject to standard diligence before any investment is made.

Entrepreneurs who meet the criteria given above and are looking for venture funding are encouraged to learn more and apply on the Toyota AI Ventures website.

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