updated 09:37 am EDT, Mon May 5, 2014
Connected Car Fund will work with Nokia's Here maps arm on investments
Nokia is planning to invest $100 million into companies working on computing in cars. Buoyed by a cash influx from the sale of its mobile phone business to Microsoft for $7.2 billion, the company wants to put money towards those creating technologies for "connected and intelligent vehicles," with the fund set to be managed by the company's own Nokia Growth Partners venture capital arm.
"The car is really becoming a platform like when the mobile handset became a smartphone, and all the apps and services developed around that," advised NGP's Paul Asel to Bloomberg. Nokia president and CEO Rajeev Suri claims "Our new $100 million venture fund launched today further underlines our belief that the connected car is a significant growth opportunity where NGP is poised to make great investments."
Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri
In-car computing has seen a considerable amount of interest from other companies. Apple's CarPlay brings iOS functionality to the car, providing access to a connected iPhone for entertainment, calling, Siri-enabled voice requests, and navigation, among other features. Google formed the Open Automotive Alliance earlier this year with Audi, GM, Honda, Hyundai, and Nvidia, to work on an in-car software and hardware platform.
Nokia's investment in the industry will help it leverage the technologies and services it continues to own post-Microsoft, including the company's Here maps platform. "We believe that connected cars equipped with precise location awareness and sensor data can become powerful devices capable of helping drivers make sense of the world around them," said Here CEO Michael Halbherr, continuing "With more than 25 years of experience in creating automotive grade maps for the automobile industry, we look forward to working with promising companies in NGP's new fund to create a whole new class of services that keep drivers safe and connected."