Autotech Ventures closes $120 million first fund to connect automotive giants with startups
With no shortage of venture capital (VC) funds in Silicon Valley and beyond, one VC firm has elected to focus its entire effort on one fast-growing niche. Founded out of Menlo Park, California in 2015, Autotech Ventures has set up shop with a specific focus on automotive startups, bankrolling multi-stage companies that operate across such areas as autonomous driving, infotainment systems, cybersecurity, and more. As of last August, Autotech Ventures had raised around $75 million, but now the company has closed its “oversubscribed” inaugural fund at $120 million, with participation from notable companies in the automotive realm, including BorgWarner, Autoliv, Denso, Mahle, and Murata Manufacturing. Other investors include vehicle manufacturers, parts suppliers, repair shop chains, and trucking firms. And this hints at the fund’s raison d’être — it’s all about bridging the great divide between the old world order and the new, connecting major corporations with innovative emerging startups that may not have access to the resources needed to scale. “Startups are adept at quickly turning disruptive ideas into action, while industry incumbents are excellent at scaling and customer reach,” explained Masahiro Suzuki, partner in charge of strategic partnerships at Autotech Ventures. “At Autotech, we bring startups and corporations together to leverage their complementary strengths and help our portfolio companies build the new transportation future.” Elsewhere, we have seen a marked increase in investment in transportation startups from the giants of the automotive sphere — last year, GM snapped up self-driving car startup Cruise Automation in a deal worth more than $1 billion. And back in February, Ford invested $1 billion in self-driving tech startup Argo AI. Autotech Ventures has already invested in a number of well-known companies, including Uber rival Lyft, as well as investing in DeepScale, Outdoorsy, Realine, and Volta Charging. “The ground transportation sector is experiencing a moment of unprecedented innovation, and there has never been a better time to invest in the many exciting companies leading that charge,” added Autotech Ventures’ managing director, Alexei Andreev.