Calling All Innovators
Thank you for your interest in the 2020 Toyota AI Ventures call for innovation. Applications are closed, but you can read our announcement to learn more about YPC Technologies, which received investment as a result of the call for innovation.
Are you the founder of a company that is developing technologies to advance smart and connected cities?
Jump-start your startup by getting your solution in front of the Toyota AI Ventures team.
More than half of the world’s population lives in urban areas, and that number is expected to grow to 68% by 2050. With that growth comes challenges, like traffic congestion and pollution.
We view cities as a platform for innovation, and we’ve launched a new global “call for innovation” to find and fund early-stage startups that are building real-world, scalable solutions to improve the quality of life in urban communities. Now and in the future.
We’re looking to invest in promising companies that are using artificial intelligence, data, cloud, autonomy, mobility, or robotics technologies to improve urban innovation. The call for innovation is an opportunity for your startup to receive between $500,000 and $2 million in funding from Toyota AI Ventures. In addition, we’re partnering with Toyota Research Institute - Advanced Development (TRI-AD) and Toyota Research Institute (TRI) on this call, and selected startups might also get an opportunity to collaborate on future projects.
Examples of the types of areas we’re focused on include:
- Improving accessibility and mobility for all, including autonomous and personal vehicles
- Reducing congestion and pollution through electric and shared mobility services
- Increasing efficiency through smarter home and building construction
- Using AI and robotics to assist people with everyday tasks and personal care
- Sourcing actionable IoT data and analytics to drive planning decisions
As of July 1, 2020, we are no longer accepting applications. Qualified applicants will be contacted as part of the evaluation process. Our team will notify you via email once a decision is made regarding your startup’s application. Please be patient as it may take us several weeks to review and respond to your application.
Since this is not a contest or competition, all applications will be subject to our usual rigorous review standards. Therefore, we cannot guarantee we will make an investment.
The call for innovation is open to startups around the world that meet the following criteria:*
* Additional rules apply to submissions.
- Your company has raised less than $3 million USD in funding
- You have a working prototype to demonstrate your solution
- Your business model solves a market need and delivers value to customers
Frequently Asked Questions
How is the call for innovation different from the way Toyota AI Ventures typically finds startups to invest in?
While our investment team will continue to evaluate startups that reach out to us, are referred to us, or that we discover our own, the call for innovation is a way for us to more precisely signal to startups what we’re looking for.
It is also a way to spur innovation. Perhaps you are working on a startup that has similar technology that is being applied to a different product, or you are thinking about forming a startup but haven’t done so yet. The call for innovation is designed to attract qualified startups, and catalyze innovation.
If I want Toyota AI Ventures to consider investing in my startup, do I need to apply for the call for innovation? What if my startup is working on a different idea?
The call for innovation is specifically for startups that are developing solutions for smart, connected cities. If you are working on a relevant solution and meet our eligibility criteria, we encourage you to complete the application form below to get your idea in front of our team.
If your startup is not eligible or is not qualified for this call for innovation, you can still reach out to our team at firstname.lastname@example.org. However, please note that we receive a high volume of inquiries and can not respond to every request.
Is the call for innovation a contest or competition where there will be a “winner” announced?
No. The call for innovation is not a contest or competition — it’s an opportunity. We will not be selecting a “winner” from among the pool of applicants. Instead, we will be looking for qualified startups that we might invest in. We may invest in more than one startup company.
Qualified startups that apply for the call will receive priority screening, so it’s a way to get your solution in front of our team knowing that we are actively looking to invest between $500K-$2M USD.
Who do I contact if I have a question about my application, or want to update information that I have already submitted?
You can email email@example.com with questions about your application. However, please do not use that email address to apply or share supporting materials. You must submit your application using the form below.
How will startups that apply for the first call for innovation be evaluated?
We will evaluate your startup on the basis of your team, technology, business model, and go-to-market strategy, as well as the impact that your solution will ultimately have on improving the quality of human life, among other factors. In addition, we will invite members of TRI-AD’s and TRI’s teams to help assess the startup’s technical capabilities and approach.
If I apply for the call for innovation will I get to meet with the Toyota AI Ventures team?
While we may follow-up with some applicants to request more information, or to schedule a follow-up call or meeting, we will not be able to meet with every startup that applies.
Do startups need to be based in the United States, or travel to the U.S. for meetings?
No. The call for innovation is open to qualified startups around the world, and you are not required to travel for an in-person meeting or event in the United States. However, if you are invited to meet with our team in the United States and you decide to do so, please note that you will be responsible for all of your own travel arrangements and expenses.
Is Toyota AI Ventures guaranteeing that it will invest in one of the startups that applies for the call for innovation?
No. While our intention is to invest in one or more startups as a result of this call for innovation, we can not guarantee in advance that we will make an investment because it depends on the startups that apply. Qualified startups will be evaluated carefully, and will be subject to standard diligence before any investment is made.
Is there a deadline to apply for the call for innovation? When will I know the status of my application?
We will accept applications on our website until 11:59 PDT on June 30, 2020, and submissions will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Our team will notify you via email as soon as a decision is made regarding your startup’s application. Please be patient as it may take us several weeks to review and respond to your application.
How to Participate
With our call for innovation, we are looking to invest $500K - $2M USD in early-stage startups that are developing solutions in artificial intelligence, cloud, data, autonomy, mobility, and robotics that will help advance smart, connected cities. Please review the following guidelines carefully before applying; by submitting the form, you are agreeing to these terms and the Application Terms:
- To respond to this call, submit the application form below. Only one application per company, please. All applications are subject to the Application Terms.
- Your startup must meet the eligibility criteria outlined above, and be looking to raise capital within the next six months.
- The call for innovation is not a contest or competition, and there are no “prizes.” It is an opportunity to get your startup’s solution in front of the Toyota AI Ventures team. Toyota AI Ventures is not agreeing to compensate you in any way as a result of applying, and all eligible participants are subject to standard diligence before any investment is made.
- By applying, you acknowledge that you are giving Toyota AI Ventures, Toyota Research Institute-Advanced Development, Toyota Research Institute, and other Toyota affiliates the right to review the information you have submitted, and to request additional information from you as needed to further evaluate your startup.
Applications are now closed.
Please answer the questions below and attach a pitch deck in PDF format that contains no more than 12 slides.
Your pitch deck should address the following:
- How your solution applies to building smart, connected cities
- The market opportunity and your current traction
- Your business model and go-to-market strategy to deliver value to customers
- Your company’s technology and how you’re applying it to improve the quality of life in urban communities
- Founding team’s background and expertise
- The competitive landscape and how your approach is unique
- Financial performance, and projections
- Funding history, if any