Volvo Cars is launching an investment fund aimed at “high potential” technology startups, a sign the automaker is looking for ways to accelerate the digital services and technology offered in its own vehicles.
Volvo Cars, which is owned by China’s Geely Holdings, started beefing up its digital expertise more than a year ago when it launched a digital products organization at its Silicon Valley office. One of its first major steps was the acquisition in September, of Luxe, the U.S.-based premium valet and concierge service. The acquisition, which included an advanced software and technology platform as well as key data scientists, app developers and software engineers, provided a boost to the company’s development of digital services, according to Volvo.
The Volvo Cars Tech Fund plans to expand the search on a global scale.
The automaker didn’t disclose the size of the fund. But the aim is similar to other funds launched by automakers in recent years: invest in strategic technology trends that are transforming the industry, such as artificial intelligence, electrification, autonomous driving and digital mobility services.
Zaki Fasihuddin, who is vice president of strategic partnerships at the Volvo Cars Silicon Valley Technology Center, has been appointed CEO of the Volvo Cars Tech Fund.
The fund’s first strategic investment is a seed round investment into a California-based technology firm developing advanced sensors. Volvo didn’t disclose the company or the amount invested.