CVC-backed mobility, automotive & travel innovation: Case study 2 – Denso International America


This is an excerpt from ‘Corporate Venturing and the Future of Mobility, Automotive and Travel’, a new report from Global Corporate Venturing and LEIF, which is sponsored by BP VenturesDenso International America, and JetBlue Technology Ventures. 

BP Ventures’ MD, Akira Kirton, and JetBlue Technology Ventures’ president, Bonny Simi, are among the speakers at GCV’s annual symposium in London next month.

Corporate venture capital (CVC) serves its portfolio businesses best when it increases their proximity to customers and thereby accelerates their commercial success. When CVCs from different industries co-invest and collaborate, the positive impact is multiplied proportionately.

The diagram below highlight some examples from Denso’s portfolio (Active Scaler, ThinCI, MAAS Global and Trilumina) of collaboration among CVCs from different industries.


Trilumina is an Albuquerque-based company in which Denso first invested in 2016. Denso also participated in the company’s $15.92m Series A round of May 2017. The benefits of company’s technology include the provision of more cost-effective Lidar solutions. ThinCi is a California-based developer of graphic chips for the automotive industry that can help autonomous and semi-autonomous cars see and ‘think’. The company raised an undisclosed amount of Series B venture funding from Denso and other investors in October 2016.

Tony Cannestra, Director of Corporate Ventures at Denso Corporation:

“We believe that Trilumina’s VCSEL technology is going to be a fundamental
illumination technology for both driver status monitoring systems and some LiDAR

“ThinCI is developing a unique computer chip architecture. It’s able to put deep
learning algorithms on the chip itself. We’re confident we’ll get somewhere around
5-10 times the compute performance offered by the next best solution.”




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