© Denso Electronics Production | December 10, 2018
DENSO invests $100M in startups to advance mobility
DENSO has invested nearly USD 100 million over a four-year period in startup companies around the world as part of its long-term vision to provide software-based solutions focused on electrification, automated driving, connectivity and shared economy.
From cyber security to semiconductors and sensors, DENSO is investing in startup companies working on key technologies that will play a major role in advancing mobility services that are safe, secure and efficient. "DENSO has traditionally been self-sufficient with its R&D efforts. About five years ago, we realized that to keep pace with the predicted changes in the automotive industry and consumer demand, we needed to embrace an open innovation model that places equal importance on internal and external technology development in all product areas," says Tony Cannestra, Director of Corporate Ventures at DENSO, in a press release. "DENSO used to be all about spark plugs and air conditioning units, and while those are still important products for us, we are focused on building a strong ecosystem of software, advanced hardware, and other mobility technologies to quickly and flexibly develop unique solutions that meet the needs of our customers, especially in EVs and autonomous driving." Recent investment areas for DENSO include: autonomous and shared mobility, where the company invested additional dollars into Ridecell's Series B funding round for the development of shared mobility. Its partnership with Thinci is enhancing deep learning capabilities required for autonomous vehicles. In cybersecurity DENSO led Dellfer's initial funding round to help the company develop cybersecurity safeguards for connected and autonomous vehicles. And in the area of electrification DENSO made an investment in FLOSFIA, which is focused on a semiconductor device expected to reduce the energy loss, cost, size and weight of inverters used in electrified vehicles. Continuing with the focus on e-mobility, DENSO also looked into the area of sensing with an investment in Metawave Corporation to accelerate the development and improve performance of in-vehicle, "smart" radar sensors for autonomous cars. Looking ahead, DENSO will continue to invest in startups and entrepreneurs who can help accelerate innovation in the automotive industry. In 2011, DENSO took steps to strengthen and grow its core automotive business and identify and support non-auto technologies that could be used to advance mobility when it opened its Silicon Valley location. In 2014, DENSO expanded that office to further support and promote startup companies and advanced R&D activities in multiple areas of innovation. In 2016, DENSO began opening satellite R&D offices all around the world to create advanced technologies and services. "DENSO has been around for a long time and we want to be here for another 70+ years for our customers and employees," adds Cannestra. "To ensure that happens, we need great partners who are focused on developing technologies to radically advance our mode of transportation now and well into the future."