Hyundai Motor Group (the Group) held an Open Innovation Tech Day event in Seoul today during which the Group announced its coexisting and future strategies with participants within the global startup ecosystem and shared the results of its open innovation initiatives to date.
Hyundai Motor Group plans to secure future innovative growth engines by establishing cooperative relationships with various select startups around the world, while continuing to support and nurture their global advancement.
The Group announced that it has invested KRW 1.3 trillion in more than 200 startups since 2017 up until the first quarter of 2023, when it began strengthening its open innovation activities. These investment numbers exclude major investments, such as Boston Dynamics, Motional, and Supernal.
The Group has invested in numerous business areas, including electrification, connectivity, artificial intelligence (AI), autonomous driving, renewables, robotics, and mobility services. By segment, mobility services recorded around KRW 700 billion investment in projects, including mobility service companies such as Grab in Singapore and OLA in India. Electrification and connectivity followed with KRW 280 billion and KRW 126 billion, respectively. The Group has also invested KRW 60 billion in AI, 54 billion in autonomous driving, and 25 billion in energy, including hydrogen.
Startups that can lead to positive changes in people’s lives through innovative technologies or services are the companies we are looking for. We will establish a coexistence ecosystem by actively investing in startups that provide important insights into the creation of future smart and sustainable mobility solutions and improving wellbeing and quality of life for humanity.
Dr. Yunseong Hwang
Vice President and Head of Open Innovation Execution Group at Hyundai Motor Group
Hyundai Motor Group’s Open Innovation initiative is largely embodied in four types of investment: sensing investment to identify trends in fast-changing new growth business areas; linked investment to promote actual cooperation according to expected strategic synergy; strategic investment to immediately or quickly secure business capabilities, and company building for internal startups with necessary technologies and business areas for the Group.
Hyundai Motor Group operates global innovation hubs called ‘CRADLE’ in five countries: the United States, Germany, Israel, China, and Singapore. The Group has also established ‘ZER01NE’ in Korea, which serves as a hub for open innovation. Additionally, the group operates a total of 19 investment funds in major countries, with a focus on securing global investment capabilities to support startups.
ZER01NE, which was established in 2018, has recruited startups through its ZER01NE Accelerator program with the aim to discover valuable startups and explore the possibilities of strategic use cases of their innovative technologies. It has also expanded its open innovation initiatives to various areas beyond automobiles also, operating its ZER01NE Playground for collaborations with artists and creators.
The Group also operates an in-house startup system called ‘ZER01NE Company Builder’, which is available for executives and employees of group companies to foster in-house startups. A total of 30 in-house startups have spun off, generating cumulative sales of KRW 280 billion. These startups have been recognized for their market value and business feasibility, leading to the hiring of more than 800 new employees.
The Group will continue its bold collaboration strategies with diverse startups that will transform the future based on creative ideas. Open innovation areas that are newly sought include Software Defined Vehicles (SDVs), resource circulation, semiconductor, artificial intelligence (AI), and quantum technology.
Major initiatives that have successfully grown through the ZER01NE program
At the Open Innovation Tech Day, Hyundai Motor Group also presented its major cases of investments and collaboration with key startups that have successfully grown through the ZER01NE program.
IONITY, the European EV high-speed charging infrastructure company, is a representative example of successful results through the Group’s investment. As of the end of 2022, around 450 charging stations have been built in 24 European countries, with approximately 2,000 high-speed chargers installed. Hyundai Motor is collaborating with IONITY by providing a premium package that enables IONIQ 5 customers to use the company’s charging facilities for one year, in addition to providing equity investment.
Rimac Automobili, the Croatian ultra-high-performance electric vehicle company invested in by Hyundai Motor Group in 2019, has established a cooperative relationship. The company has experienced rapid growth, with a corporate value of EUR 2.2 billion. Rimac Automobili has contributed to the advancement of high-performance electric vehicle technology at Hyundai Motor and Kia through various joint projects.
IonQ, a U.S. quantum computing company well-known in Korea due to its association with Professor Kim Jungsang of Duke University, has been conducting various joint research projects with Hyundai Motor Group since receiving investment from the group in 2021. These projects include upgrades to autonomous driving and battery technology.
SoundHound, a US voice recognition solution company, received investment from the Group between 2011 and 2020. The company is providing voice recognition services that feature in Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis models sold in North America and India.
Suresofttech is a company in Korea to succeed in developing and commercializing software verification technology. Hyundai Motor invested in the company in 2012 and 2017 and is conducting software verification collaboration on vehicle controllers and connected car systems. Based on its collaboration with Hyundai Motor Group, Suresofttech has grown into a global technology company and is expanding its business to various fields such as nuclear power, defense, rail, and aviation.
Meanwhile, Hyundai Motor Group’s ZER01NE open innovation platform participated for the first time at the 2023 CES held in Las Vegas in January. ZER01NE laid the foundation for global expansion by introducing ten domestic startups in cooperation, including 60 Hertz, eMotiv, ArgosVision, and CellPlus Korea. The Group will continue to leave no stone unturned in its pursuit of the very best and most innovative technologies to develop sustainable mobile solutions and benefit humanity.