Toyota’s Funding Of Early Age Start-Ups

Recently, Toyota announced that they are dedicating their first venture fund to entrepreneurs who are working to build innovative solutions to enhance the quality of life in urban communities. Early-stage start-ups can inquire for up to 2 million dollars in VC funding. 


The Irvine Toyota dealer reveals that Toyota AI Ventures, a Silicon Valley-based capital enterprise, calls for worldwide innovation. They seek to discover and finance early-stage start-ups who are building solutions for smart and connected cities. This program encourages qualified entrepreneurs from around the globe to earn between $500,000 and $2 million in funding from Toyota AI Ventures. 

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According to Irvine car dealerships, Toyota AI Ventures will collaborate with Toyota Research Institute - Advanced Development (TRI-AD) and Toyota Research Institute (TRI) to find opportunities for start-ups to partner with. TRI-Ad, headquartered in Tokyo, makes up part of Toyota’s newly declared Woven City, a modern connected city that is being constructed on-site of the Higashi-Fuji plant in Susono, Japan. The Irvine Toyota dealer says that the Woven City will act as a testbed for ingenious ideas and technologies from Toyota and its partners.


“Over half of the world’s population lives in urban areas today, and that trend is expected to increase in the coming decades,” said Jim Adler, founding managing director of Toyota AI Ventures. “As cities become more populated and dense, technology has a key role to play in addressing challenges like congestion, housing shortages, and pollution. We see cities as a platform for innovation, and we’re searching for startups building real-world, scalable solutions to improve the quality of life in urban communities, now and in the future.”


“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.”


The Irvine Toyota dealer says that Toyota AI Ventures made a call for innovation at the CES 2020 convention. From their Toyota booth, they featured a display of portfolios from three companies: Intuition Robotics, May Mobility, and Perceptive Automata. Also included in the booth were two innovation areas.


The demand for innovation applies to start-ups in the areas of artificial intelligence, robotics, cloud storage, and other kinds of data. Start-ups that can demonstrate a working prototype for these concepts and create a feasible business model can apply their solutions to smart, connected cities and provide actual value to customers. 


Toyota AI Ventures is specifically interested in solutions that tackle the following: 

  • Better accessibility and mobility for everybody, including autonomous and personal vehicles

  • Lowering congestion and pollution through electric and shared mobility services

  • Increasing productivity through smarter home and building construction

  • Helping people with everyday tasks and personal care


Administered in partnership with TRI, their call for innovation has resulted in an investment in Elementary Robotics amongst other things. Toyota AI Ventures has invested in over twenty-seven companies in the United States, Israel, and the United Kingdom, including Boxbot, Bumblebee Spaces, Joby Aviation, Moodify, Nauto, Revel, and SLAMcore.


If you are interested in this program, you should know that applications are open from now until April 30, 2020. submissions will be reviewed on an ongoing basis. Start-ups will be considered based on their team, technology, business model, and go-to-market strategy, and will be answerable to standard diligence before any investment is made.


Entrepreneurs who meet these standards and seek venture funding are encouraged to learn more about the program and apply on the Toyota AI Ventures website. 


What Are Toyota AI Ventures?


Toyota AI Ventures, which is a subsidiary of Toyota Research Institute (TRI), is a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm that invests in early-stage startups in the areas of artificial intelligence, cloud, data, autonomy, mobility, and robotics. It was founded in July 2017, and its goal is to find out what is next for Toyota by assisting startups to bring technologies and business models to market swiftly. In May 2019, Toyota AI Ventures announced its second fund, which brings total assets under management to over $200 million.


What Is the Toyota Research Institute – Advanced Development?


Toyota Research Institute-Advanced Development, Inc. (TRI-AD) is located in Tokyo, Japan and was founded in March 2018 for the purpose of developing innovative products that will facilitate Toyota’s vision, “Mobility for All.” Also, TRI-AD makes up part of Toyota’s newly announced Woven City, which will act as an incubator for smart city design, connected mobility, and robotics technology from Toyota and its partners.


What Is the Toyota Research Institute?


The Toyota Research Institute (TRI) is managed by Dr. Gill Pratt. The company, which was established in 2015, strives to strengthen Toyota’s research structure and develop active vehicle safety and automated driving technologies, robotics, and other human amplification technology. Toyota’s researchers are using artificial intelligence to benefit society and improve the human condition by creating a future where everyone has the freedom to move, engage, and explore. TRI is based in the United States, with offices in Los Altos, California, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Ann Arbor, Michigan. 


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