Millennium Post

From smartphone to smartcars: Nokia launches $100-mn venture fund

Looking to tap the rapidly growing smart and intelligent automobile market, Finnish telecom giant Nokia on Monday launched a $100 million venture fund to invest in auto technology across the globe, including India.

The Connected Car Fund, that will be managed by Nokia Growth Partners (NGP), will work in collaboration with another Nokia arm HERE to develop the ecosystem around HERE's mapping and location products and services.

The fund extends NGP's global investment activities in the US, India, China and Europe where NGP continue to invest in high potential businesses.
‘The fund will identify and invest in companies whose innovations will be important for a world of connected and intelligent vehicles,’ Nokia said in a statement.

The company is a major player in the automotive industry providing location intelligence for connected vehicles through HERE, it added. The NGP fund, working closely with HERE, will seek to make investments that also support the growth of the ecosystem around HERE's mapping and location products and services.

Commenting on the launch of the fund, Nokia's newly appointed India-born President and CEO Rajeev Suri said: ‘NGP has been consistently performing well and bringing in both new innovation and financial return to Nokia.
‘Our new $100 million venture fund launched today (Monday) further underlines our belief that the Connected Car is a significant growth opportunity where NGP is poised to make great investments.’

For the last few years, there has been a surge in innovation that has brought technological advances leading to safer, cleaner, increasingly connected, intelligent and more affordable vehicles. Vehicles are becoming a new platform for technology adoption very similar to phones or tablets,’ Paul Asel, a Partner at Nokia Growth Partners, said.

‘We are excited to deepen our collaboration with HERE through the Connected Car fund to invest in companies that are driving the future of the auto ecosystem, local services and personal mobility,’ he added.

The new fund brings Nokia's commitments managed by NGP to $700 million. NGP is an independent venture fund that has been investing in technology companies which made an impact in their respective industries globally, including Rocket Fuel, Heptagon and UCweb.
The Connected Car fund will be the fourth fund that NGP has managed on behalf of Nokia over the past decade.
Last month, Nokia completed sale of its handset business, except the Chennai and Korean manufacturing units, to software giant Microsoft for over $7.2 billion.
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