Nokia invests $100 million to further advance connected technologies in automobiles

HERE
By Rich Edmonds on 5 May 2014 04:02 am
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Even before the deal to sell its hardware and services division to Microsoft, Nokia was investing in development with technologies in vehicles. Working with multiple car manufacturers, the Finnish company has worked to provide HERE mapping and location services in its Connected Car program. Today, Nokia Growth Partners (NGP) announced a further $100 million to identify in companies with innovations that will be "important for a world of connected and intelligent vehicles".

It's an interesting move by Nokia, further investing in reshaping what's technically possible in a car environment. With location and sensor data becoming more and more accurate, vehicles will have more powerful tools to help drivers integrate more seamlessly with the world around them. All this while keeping said drivers safe and connected. Today's announcement also marks another large step in a direction which Nokia will be taking themselves without its mobile business.

The new fund will extend global activities in the US, India, China and Europe, bringing the total fund managed by NGP to $700 million.

Nokia launches $100 million Connected Car Fund managed by Nokia Growth Partners (NGP)

The fund will invest in promising auto tech and local services companies in collaboration with HERE, a Nokia company, to grow the ecosystem around HERE's mapping and location products and services. Espoo, Finland - Nokia today announced the launch of a USD 100 million Connected Car fund to be managed by Nokia Growth Partners (NGP). The fund will identify and invest in companies whose innovations will be important for a world of connected and intelligent vehicles.

Nokia is already a major player in the automotive industry providing location intelligence for connected vehicles through HERE. The NGP fund, working closely with HERE, will seek to make investments that also support the growth of the ecosystem around HERE's 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 USD 100 million 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."

"For the last few years there has been a surge in innovation that has brought technological advances leading to safer, cleaner, increasingly connected, intelligent and more affordable vehicles. Vehicles are becoming a new platform for technology adoption very similar to phones or tablets," said Paul Asel, Partner at Nokia Growth Partners. "We are excited to deepen our collaboration with HERE through the Connected Car fund to invest in companies that are driving the future of the auto ecosystem, local services and personal mobility."

"NGP's Connected Car fund underscores that connectivity is rapidly reshaping what is possible in the car environment," said Michael Halbherr, CEO of HERE. "We believe that connected cars equipped with precise location awareness and sensor data can become powerful devices capable of helping drivers make sense of the world around them. With more than 25 years of experience in creating automotive grade maps for the automobile industry, we look forward to working with promising companies in NGP's new fund to create a whole new class of services that keep drivers safe and connected." The Connected Car fund extends NGP's global investment activities in the U.S., India, China and Europe where Nokia Growth Partners continue to invest in high potential businesses. The new fund brings Nokia's commitments managed by NGP to USD 700 million. As an independent VC sponsored by Nokia, NGP has a strong track record of investing in technology companies that have made an impact in their respective industries globally, including Rocket Fuel, Heptagon and UCweb.

The Connected Car fund will be the fourth fund that NGP has managed on behalf of Nokia over the past decade.

Forward looking statements

It should be noted that Nokia and its business are exposed to various risks and uncertainties and certain statements herein that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements, including, without limitation, those regarding: A) expectations, plans or benefits related to Nokia's new strategy; B) expectations, plans or benefits related to future performance of Nokia's continuing businesses Networks, HERE and Technologies; C) expectations, plans or benefits related to changes in leadership and operational structure; D) expectations regarding market developments, general economic conditions and structural changes; E) expectations and targets regarding performance, including those related to market share, prices, net sales and margins; F) the timing of the deliveries of our products and services; G) expectations and targets regarding our financial performance, cost savings and competitiveness as well as results of operations; H) expectations and targets regarding collaboration and partnering arrangements; I) the outcome of pending and threatened litigation, disputes, regulatory proceedings or investigations by authorities; J) expectations regarding restructurings, investments, uses of proceeds from transactions, acquisitions and divestments and our ability to achieve the financial and operational targets set in connection with any such restructurings, investments, divestments and acquisitions, including any expectations, plans or benefits related to or caused by the transaction announced on September 3, 2013 where Nokia sold substantially all of Nokia's Devices & Services business to Microsoft on April 25, 2014 ("Sale of the D&S Business"); K) statements preceded by or including "believe," "expect," "anticipate," "foresee," "sees," "target," "estimate," "designed," "aim", "plans," "intends," "focus", "continue", "project", "should", "will" or similar expressions. These statements are based on management's best assumptions and beliefs in light of the information currently available to it. Because they involve risks and uncertainties, actual results may differ materially from the results that we currently expect. Factors, including risks and uncertainties that could cause these differences include, but are not limited to: 1) our ability to execute our new strategy successfully and in a timely manner, and our ability to successfully adjust our operations; 2) our ability to sustain or improve the operational and financial performance of our continuing businesses and correctly identify business opportunities or successfully pursue new business opportunities; 3) our ability to execute Networks' strategy and effectively, profitably and timely adapt its business and operations to the increasingly diverse needs of its customers and technological developments; 4) our ability within our Networks business to effectively and profitably invest in and timely introduce new competitive high-quality products, services, upgrades and technologies; 5) our ability to invent new relevant technologies, products and services, to develop and maintain our intellectual property portfolio and to maintain the existing sources of intellectual property related revenue and establish new such sources; 6) our ability to protect numerous patented standardized or proprietary technologies from third-party infringement or actions to invalidate the intellectual property rights of these technologies; 7) our ability within our HERE business to maintain current sources of revenue, historically derived mainly from the automotive industry, create new sources of revenue, establish a successful location-based platform and extend our location-based services across devices and operating systems; 8) effects of impairments or charges to carrying values of assets, including goodwill, or liabilities; 9) our dependence on the development of the mobile and communications industry in numerous diverse markets, as well as on general economic conditions globally and regionally; 10) our Networks business' dependence on a limited number of customers and large, multi-year contracts; 11) our ability to retain, motivate, develop and recruit appropriately skilled employees; 12) the potential complex tax issues and obligations we may face, including the obligation to pay additional taxes in various jurisdictions and our actual or anticipated performance, among other factors, could result in allowances related to deferred tax assets; 13) our ability to manage our manufacturing, service creation and delivery, and logistics efficiently and without interruption, especially if the limited number of suppliers we depend on fail to deliver sufficient quantities of fully functional products and components or deliver timely services; 14) potential exposure to contingent liabilities due to the Sale of the D&S Business and possibility that the agreements we have entered into with Microsoft may have terms that prove to be unfavorable to us; 15) any inefficiency, malfunction or disruption of a system or network that our operations rely on or any impact of a possible cybersecurity breach; 16) our ability to reach targeted results or improvements by managing and improving our financial performance, cost savings and competitiveness; 17) management of Networks' customer financing exposure; 18) the performance of the parties we partner and collaborate with, and our ability to achieve successful collaboration or partnering arrangements; 19) our ability to protect the technologies, which we develop, license, use or intend to use from claims that we have infringed third parties' intellectual property rights, as well as, impact of possible licensing costs, restriction on our usage of certain technologies, and litigation related to intellectual property rights; 20) the impact of regulatory, political or other developments on our operations and sales in those various countries or regions where we do business; 21) exchange rate fluctuations, particularly between the euro, which is our reporting currency, and the US dollar, the Japanese yen and the Chinese yuan, as well as certain other currencies; 22) our ability to successfully implement planned transactions, such as acquisitions, divestments, mergers or joint ventures, manage unexpected liabilities related thereto and achieve the targeted benefits; 23) the impact of unfavorable outcome of litigation, contract related disputes or allegations of health hazards associated with our business, as well as the risk factors specified on pages 12-35 of Nokia's annual report on Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2013 under Item 3D. "Risk Factors." Other unknown or unpredictable factors or underlying assumptions subsequently proven to be incorrect could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements. Nokia does not undertake any obligation to publicly update or revise forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except to the extent legally required.

20 comments

RogerWh

Flush with cash, time to invest into companies doing good work and buy them and integrate.

Solamar

Interesting.. Many players eyeing the vehicle space..

Tarun96

hmmm....now if this works as well as it is supposed to then it could give pretty solid competition to google's automated car project and apple's carplay project. i hope it does work out. nokia's here maps is one of the best that i have used. the navigation is actually pretty accurate and the UI is pretty much easy to understand. i am not a nokia fanboy but i hope it works out for nokia.

deckem

More integration = more better!

Gexguy

To little to late me thinks

Teso Dos Bichos

I don't see any system that does not utilise what already exists in Android/iOS succeeding. People do not want duplication of services. It will also be interesting to see the extent to which countries legislate in the connected device sector.

bswan19

Everytime I think of Nokia, I think of candy bar cell phones from when cell phones first started getting big.

BlueRocks

Seems like a small piece of the entire in car experience. Buyout candidate?

MazoMark

I don't think it is too late and I don't think anyone has delivered a good in car experience yet, but the clock is ticking. Challenge for Nokia will be getting agreement with major car manufacturers. I can't see the big auto makers providing options on three competing car systems - Android, Apple, and Nokia - so how does Nokia deliver a better experience. And can they do it before Android or Apple have locked everyone up.

Godgass

Just got a new Accord and the integration is better but can't wait for the next one where it'll all be connected. Hopefully it will be connecting to all phone formats

eurafega

And what does this affect CarPlay? Is Nokia desperately trying to grab a niche ?

Disturbed7716

As big of a fan of a connected life as I am, I really don't see whats driving (sorry for the pun) this car innovation kick. Maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised. My car GPS does the same job as google maps, my wifes garmin has live traffic updates as well, and aside from getting spotify/pandora it just doesn't seem like much of a value add to me.

whiteknight

I do quite a bit of mobile policy activities with businesses and government agencies and the safety risk being brought about by this connectivity in vehicles is getting greater and greater. As our mobile devices become more and more capable, it'll cause more and more distractions. There's only one thing that will save us, the auto-driving car. Kudos to Google and others that are attempting to take people out of the equation when driving. It'll be a wonderful day when you get in your car, have the car take you where necessary, while you can work, use your phone, make calls, and only focus on the road in the unlikely event the car asks you to take over. I look forward to explaining to my grandkids how crazy it was that we once used to drive these cars around ourselves.

letmeupgradeya

I hope this investment causes other stakeholders in the game to improve and make the driving experience safer.

dmedesha

The Nokia buyout, at least the automotive part of it, fits right in with the Microsoft Uconnect system used by FIAT-Chrysler. I have it in my 500L and it's not a bad system. It's not up to the OTA connectivity of On-Star, and there is a bit of duplication with the dash gauges, but there's lots of potential there. And it hasn't blue-screen once...yet...(knocks on wood.)

supernovo

Nokia were also the ones to initiate MirrorLink the technology that brings together smartphones and headunits in the right way. The technology is gaining more attention lately since Apple and Google try to push their versions into the market.

davemacd

Excellent. We need more competition in this space. I'm shopping for a new car, and the dash nav/infotainment system is one of the most important things to me.

James8561

can't wait to get a car with Nokia inside

c23rainman

It is rather exciting to see all of this $$ being put into in-car tech research…driving and/or just being in the car is no longer boring. Quite the opposite, its actually fun road tripping when you have all that tech at your fingertips. Used safely of course!

andrae007

Interesting indeed. Will be looking to see how this pans out.