Denso bets big on start-ups with $100m investment

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 06 Dec 2018

Denso, the world's second largest mobility supplier, has invested nearly $100 million (Rs 631 crore) over a four-year period in start-up 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, the Japanese major is investing in start-up 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,” said Tony Cannestra, director of Corporate Ventures at Denso.

“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.”

“Denso has been around for a long time and we want to be here for another 70+ years for our customers and employees,” said 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.” 

Recent investment areas for Denso include: 
- Autonomous Drive: Additional investment in Ridecell’s Series B funding round for the development of shared mobility. Denso's partnership with ThinCI is enhancing deep learning capabilities required for autonomous vehicles. 
- Cybersecurity: Denso led Dellfer’s initial funding round to help the company develop cybersecurity safeguards for connected and autonomous vehicles.
- Electrification: An investment in Flosfia is focused on a semiconductor device expected to reduce the energy loss, cost, size and weight of inverters used in electrified vehicles. 
- Sensing: Along with a handful of other strategic investors, the company has invested in Metawave Corporation to accelerate the development and improve performance of in-vehicle, “smart” radar sensors for autonomous cars. 

Also read: Denso expands into software-based solutions

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