Toyota Ventures yesterday launched its third global “call for innovation” to search for early-stage companies that can help make the “factory of the future” a reality sooner. Qualified entrepreneurs can apply for an opportunity to receive between $500,000 and $2 million in funding from Toyota Ventures.
“We take a founder-first approach to investing, partnering with entrepreneurs to help them bring disruptive technologies and business models to market more quickly,” said Jim Adler, founding managing director of Toyota Ventures. “With the 2022 call for innovation, we are looking to support talented startup teams that are developing smarter and more sustainable factories of the future.”
“There are a host of challenges facing the supply chain and manufacturing industry,” he said. “It's a critical time, and we see this as a perfect opportunity for startup teams with bold ideas and solutions to accelerate the Industry 4.0 transformation.”
Founded in 2017 as Toyota AI Ventures, Toyota Ventures invests in early-stage startups from around the world. The Los Altos, Calif.-based venture capital firm has more than $500 million in assets under management.
Its funds include the Toyota Ventures Frontier Fund, which focuses on artificial intelligence, cloud computing, autonomy, mobility, robotics, smart cities, digital health, financial technologies, materials, and energy. It also includes the Toyota Ventures Climate Fund, which supports innovations toward carbon neutrality.
Toyota has a track record of innovation investments
In its first call for innovation in 2018, Toyota Ventures sought robotics startups, leading to an investment in Pasadena, Calif.-based vision startup Elementary. In the 2020 call, which focused on smart and connected cities, Toyota Ventures made an investment in Montreal-based YPC Technologies.
Toyota Ventures issued its 2022 call for innovation In partnership with Toyota Motor Corp.'s Manufacturing Project Innovation Center (MPIC) and the Toyota Research Institute (TRI). It seeks scalable solutions to modernize manufacturing and advance sustainable production.
“MPIC is thrilled to partner with the Toyota Ventures team in their search to identify startups that are revolutionizing manufacturing facilities,” said Daniel Zachry, group manager of Toyota's MPIC. “As we reimagine how we build cars, increasing customization and rapid transformation to building electrified vehicles, we see startup innovation as a key ingredient.”
Industry 4.0 and sustainability goals of 2022 call
Now, Toyota Ventures invites startups developing solutions focused on Industry 4.0 and sustainable manufacturing that meet the following criteria to apply to the 2022 call for innovation:
- Raised less than $10 million in funding
- Can demonstrate a working prototype
- Have a viable business model that can deliver real value to customers
More specifically, the investment team is in search of entrepreneurs who are challenging the status quo in areas such as:
Toyota Ventures is now accepting online applications for this call for innovation through May 31, 2022, and submissions will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Qualified startups will be evaluated based on their team, technology, business model and go-to-market strategy, and will be subject to standard diligence before any investment is made. Entrepreneurs can learn more and apply on the Toyota Ventures website.
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