Nokia has initiated a $100-million fund to invest in companies developing intelligent-car technologies, betting that vehicles of the future will be smarter and more connected. Nokia chief executive Rajeev Suri said in a statement that the fund underlines their belief that the connected car is a significant growth opportunity.
The company said that the investments are aimed to support its digital-map business, adding that the project will be managed by Nokia Growth Partners. Nokia is now on the process of rebuilding and is expanding to new fields after divesting its mobile-phone unit to Microsoft for around $7.5 billion in April.
Nokia’s currently generates most of its revenues from its wireless-network equipment, and is looking to render its maps business a stronger rivals against other companies like Google. Paul Asel, a partner at Nokia Growth Partners, told Bloomberg in an interview that the car is becoming a platform, like when the “mobile handset became a smartphone.”
Nokia built its location-technologies operations by acquiring map provider Navteq for $8.1 billion in 2008 and 3-D map-technology maker Earthmine in 2012. Nokia currently provides map data to Amazon, Microsoft, Yahoo and four out of five car-navigation systems.
The company was discussing the new fund at the Global Mobile Internet Conference in Beijing, China. Asel remarked that while people tend to look at BMW, Tesla and Google, they think of it as a global play.