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Latest News Automotive Connected Cars Editor's Picks

Nokia jump starts connected cars with $100mn fund

Today, Nokia Growth Partners (NGP) announces a new $100mn Connected Car fund from Nokia.

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The fund will be used to invest in new opportunities around the automotive mapping and location ecosystem that is such a focal point for HERE.

The combined insight and experience from HERE’s business and NGP’s start-up and financial market view, will help HERE grow its ecosystem of products and services and NGP make the best possible investments. NGP and HERE will go on to help those businesses that receive investment from the fund to progress faster and further.

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Connected cars have been a focus area for HERE for some time, with our HERE Auto system and our collaboration with Continental on Electronic Horizon among recent headlines. CEO Michael Halbherr commented:

“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.”

NGP is a venture capital investor in growth businesses – that’s to say, businesses that typically have established products and services and an already sizeable turnover, looking to expand quicker than would otherwise be likely to happen. Nokia is its sole investor, though it operates independently of the business units within the company.

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Paul Asel, managing partner at NGP, explains why the automotive sector is such an attractive space for investment. In short, it’s absolutely vast and still pretty much untapped:

“Only in the US, the auto sector accounts for 20 per-cent of U.S. retail and manufacturing with over 250 million cars and trucks on the road.  Yet the car is a virtual white space:  the average American spends 52 minutes per day in a car, most of it alone with little more than a radio at hand.  No wonder texting and driving is such a problem.”

Much more to come

Paul says that, while manufacturers such as Tesla, and software app creators like Uber and Waze, have started to innovate and disrupt the landscape, they are the tip of the iceberg:

“New advances [will] provide safer, cleaner, more connected, intelligent and affordable means of transportation.

“We believe that vehicles are becoming a new platform for mobile technology adoption akin to our experience in the phone industry.

“As vehicles become connected, technology can be integrated across the auto ecosystem driving related change in multi-modal travel, parking, driver safety and insurance, car and ride sharing platforms, local search, local services and much more.”

NGP Connected Car fun

We’re very excited about the likely outcomes of this new fund and the ways it will grow the HERE ecosystem. In particular, we look forward to reporting on the businesses that receive investment through it, and their progress, right here on the blog.

Which areas do you think are ripe for exploitation by a new player in the connected car space?

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