Nokia to invest $100m in connected cars

Services and equipment provider Nokia has launched a $100m Connected Car fund to invest in firms developing technologies for the burgeoning market sector.

The fund will be managed by Nokia Growth Partners (NGP), a Nokia arm to manage its portfolio of investments, and the firm is focused on investing in technologies that complement its Here mapping and location products and services.

“NGP has been consistently performing well bringing in both new innovation and financial return to Nokia,” said Rajeev Suri, Nokia president and CEO. “Our new $100m 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.”

Paul Asel, partner at Nokia Growth Partners, added that innovation in the connected car over the past few years has led to developing safer, cleaner, cheaper and increasingly connected vehicles, which are becoming a platform for technology adoption similar to smartphones and tablets.

The Connected Car fund will focus on making investments in the US, India, China and Europe and brings Nokia’s total investments managed by NGP to $700m.

Last month, the firm announced that the head of its network equipment division NSN, Rajeev Suri, has been promoted to CEO of Nokia following the sale of its devices and services business.

The telecoms industry has stepped up its focus on connected cars in 2014. Last month, electric car manufacturer Tesla announced M2M agreements with European operator groups Telefónica and KPN. The deal saw the operator provide in-car connectivity for Tesla’s Model S across several European nations. And in March, US operator AT&T announced plans to develop an in-vehicle video service as part of its connected car offering. A few days prior, iPhone maker Apple announced the upcoming launch of Apple CarPlay, which will be available on select new cars in 2014. The firm claims it will be a smarter and safer way for consumers to use their iPhone in the car.

In February, it came to light that the United States could soon make M2M connectivity in new vehicles mandatory, following research undertaken by the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). And at Mobile World Congress 2014, automaker Ford rolled out an updated version of its Focus model, showcasing advanced drive assist and mobile connectivity features.

The Broadband World Forum is taking place on the 21st – 23rd October 2014 at the RAI Exhibition and Convention Centre, Amsterdam. Click here to download a brochure for the event.

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