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Nokia which recently sold off its devices & services business to Microsoft, has launched a $100 million connected car fund to invest in startups which are in & around the automotive ecosystem. This fund will be managed by the company’s venture arm Nokia Growth Partners (NGP).

A Nokia Growth Partners spokesperson told Medianama that India is one of the countries where the company has a team who is looking for investment opportunities. Other countries include United States, Europe and China. In India, it has two dedicated investors based in Delhi and another investor in the US looking at Indian region.

Investment Size & Focus Areas

Nokia mentions that the fund will work closely with the company’s mapping division HERE to invest in auto-tech and local services companies, that will help Nokia improve the existing ecosystem around HERE’s mapping and location products & services.

The company told Medianama that it focuses only on growth stage companies (Series B, C or even D) and typically invests around $5 million to $15 million on each company depending on whether they are leading the investment or not, irrespective of the geography.

The company’s investment focus areas for this fund include:

Smart Travel & Marketplaces which includes car sharing, ride sharing, taxi booking and ticketing among others.
Consumer Services: Traffic Information, Local real time services, driver assistance, points of interest, coupons, flexible insurance and others.
Systems: Intelligent driving, telematics, security, sensors and user interface enhancements among others.
Services & Enablers: Fleet management, analytics, connectivity, advertising, mapping, payments, asset tracking and others.

Nokia Connected Car Fund

Why India?

The company spokesperson said that India has been included in the company’s strategy because of several “innovations” happening here on the local commerce and e-commerce side. Nokia believes that this is an interesting area as real-time location-enabled consumer services (eg: GPS navigation using map) can add value to the connected vehicle experience.

Other Connected Car Initiatives

– In March this year, Apple had rebranded its connected car solution iOS in the Car and launched it as CarPlay. It had inked tie-ups with Ferrari, Mercedes Benz and Volvo with others partnerships like BMW Group, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai Motor Company, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia Motors, Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan Motor Company, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Subaru, Suzuki and Toyota Motor Corp in the works.

– In January 2014, Google had mentioned that it is collaborating with several automotive and technology companies like Audi, GM, Honda, Hyundai and Nvidia to bring the Android platform to cars through a global alliance called Open Automotive Alliance (OAA). Google says it is working with these OAA partners to adapt Android for the car and introduce new forms of integration with Android devices. So essentially, one could expect to see Android-based dashboards and car-based Android apps in the future.

– Last May, MapmyIndia had also inked an exclusive partnership to offer in-dash GPS navigation system in the Tata Vista D90. It also has similar tie-ups with a series of car makers to offer its GPS solutions on a range of car models. Some its partners include BMW, Jaguar-Land Rover, Mercedes, Toyota, Honda, Volkswagen, Renault, Mitsubishi, GM, Ford, Tata, Mahindra and Maruti.

Last October, Ford had also showcased its Sync AppLink solution, which allows customers to control applications on their smartphones using voice controls through the Ford SYNC voice activated connectivity system. The solution is expected to be launched later this year and already has tie-ups with apps like ESPNCricinfo, MapmyIndia, burrp!, Glympse and TuneIn Radio among others.