Toyota R&D Creating $800 Million Investment Fund

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
toyota r d creating 800 million investment fund

On Thursday, Toyota Motor Corp.’s research division announced it would create an $800 million global investment fund. While important news, Toyota’s dispatch was expected. The business had previously mentioned it was assembling a new holding company called Woven in July, noting that the entity would be focused on heavily upon software development and finding new partners for its most advanced projects.

Most of those seem to be in support of the “mobility as a service” concept that seeks to remove customers’ ability to own vehicles. The rest are interested in promoting alternative energy solutions or social engineering how we’ll be living in the future via “smart cities.” The fund also seems to be helping replace Toyota Research Institute-Advanced Development (TRI-AD). In fact, the Japanese R&D arm was actually the one that announced the $800 million “global growth-stage investment fund” that officially creates Woven Capital.

Woven has been the title used for several new projects Toyota is working on under the banner “Mobility to Love, Safety to Live” as it hunts for powerful corporate partnerships. “Woven Capital’s investments will enable us to weave together a global portfolio of partners and technologies that will deliver long-term value to our customers, stakeholders, and society,” said James Kuffner, CEO of TRI-AD. “Woven Capital will also enable us to make growth-stage investments in companies in the Toyota AI Ventures portfolio as they look to raise additional capital.”

The automotive industry has been talking way too much about how it’s prepared to improve society lately. It’s getting genuinely creepy and makes Woven seem more like a giant cooperation that’s preparing to force its will upon the population and less like a company that’s seeking solutions to how to make cars more energy-efficient or better at driving themselves. Perhaps firms like Toyota are just bored.

Since we discussed the composition of Woven previously, we’ll abandon the minutia for the essential items. The Woven Planet Holdings Group is broken down into three arms. Woven Capital will be focused on investing in (or just buying) growth-stage companies that are developing innovative technologies and business models that Toyota might find useful or simply doesn’t want to compete with. Meanwhile, Woven CORE and Woven Alpha will be focused on developing new products and features as they relate to vehicular connectivity and all that other mobility crap you’re probably sick to death of. They’ll also be helping out with more bizarre programs like the prototype smart city Toyota is building at the base of Mt. Fuji.

Kuffner will continue leading all three companies from the development institute’s home office in Tokyo. He was also added to Toyota’s management board in June to prove how serious the automaker was about breaking new technological ground and evolving the company. Despite numerous programs already underway, Woven Planet projects won’t officially commence until January 2021.

[Image: NeydtStock/Shutterstock]

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  • Steve Lang Steve Lang on Sep 10, 2020

    I wonder what Steven Lang would say since he's typing these exact words right now? Actually this has more to do with bringing the disparate components together for what will become an autonomous vehicle program for all Toyota products (and services).

  • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Sep 10, 2020

    Toyota doesn't do everything right. Exhibit A: Hydrogen fuel cell ("fool cell") technology.

  • Theflyersfan No Chevy SS, No Camaro, No Monte Carlo, hell, no Lumina. Behold the 2024 Hendricks Chevy Suburban stock car.
  • Theflyersfan 2023 Nissan Rogue: Coming soon to a rental car lot near you! So it can be driven at 10 below the speed limit in the left lane when the right lane is wide open. I guess I'm of the age where I remember what Nissan was and still shudder at what they became, although I think I am seeing signs of life. The days when the 300ZX TT was up there with supercars in terms of performance. When the first Altima had the mini-Infiniti J30 styling and interior. When the Sentra SE-R and NX2000 ran with the GTIs and Civic Sis. The Maxima was the Japanese 3-series for those who didn't want to pay that much for the 3-series. And then 20 or so years ago, appliances like this started to appear and the quest for the most sales made as cheaply as possible took over and flushed all of that down the drain. The new Z can help, the new Pathfinder looks like it got the plot back after being lost in the weeds for a while, and I know there's someone in Nissan that would love to go Beast Mode on the Altima. But I look at the Rogue and I see a cheap Toyota. Styling cliches of the times. Gray on Gray on Gray on Gray on Gray with black trim. Name written out in big letters like R O G U E is supposed to have me making a quick U-turn to the next Nissan dealer.What do I see with a Rogue? I see a CUV that was purchased at too high of an interest rate for too long of terms because they wanted something new and the Toyota dealer said no and the Mitsubishi dealer went out of business 10 years ago. I see Point A to Point B transportation where someone prays for reliability, but knows after 80,000 miles, the fuse has been lit on the bomb between the seats. And they justify it by saying that by 80,000 miles, they'll have a better, higher paying job, and one of the kids will be out of braces, and they can refinance the home they overpaid on, and so on. But the better paid job never came. And the braces turned into other medical bills. And the interest rates never went down and you're still overpaying on that house. And there the Rogue sits at 85,000 miles and a dead transmission that will cost thousands to fix. That's what I see when I see a Rogue.
  • MaintenanceCosts My house, currently under renovation, has a L2 charger. Charging via L2 at home is dead simple and way less time-consuming than trips to the gas station. The rental townhouse we’re living in during the renovation only has a regular 120V outlet in the garage. We’ve been using it, and it actually works just fine given the amount we drive, as long as we always remember to plug in. If we forget to plug in for a couple of days straight then it can be tough to get back ahead of the curve. Looking forward to having my L2 back once the project is done.
  • Cprescott Nissan has long become a third rate vehicle maker like Mitsubishi.
  • JMII Not me... but my brother had a hybrid Cayenne for awhile. He charged at home and at work. The vehicle had enough range that 90% of his commute was in EV mode. Since it had a gas engine he was never forced to recharge elsewhere.