SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 15, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- LM Industries, the parent company of Local Motors – the world’s first and only digital vehicle manufacturer – today announced a $15 million raise from Mirai Creation Fund II (managed by SPARX Group Co., Ltd, the Japanese asset management firm). This financing will help Local Motors deliver Olli to customers and consumers who are seeking ways to redefine local mobility.
“When SPARX considers partnering with new businesses, we are committed to finding great companies, like Local Motors, with intentions and abilities to make the world a better place,” said Shuhei Abe, CEO of SPARX Group.
“Local Motors has a unique advantage to quickly deliver impactful products that can revolutionize the automotive and mobility industry,” said Seiji Miyasaka, President of SPARX Capital Investments, Inc., a US subsidiary of SPARX Group and new Local Motors board member. “At a time when the world is changing faster than ever, we’re thrilled to be working with a company that can evolve with it.”
This latest funding will be used to drive product development, production and deployment for Olli, the world’s first 3D-printed, electric, self-driving shuttle. Since entering series production for Olli 2.0, its latest iteration and the third generation of the Local Motors manufacturing line, the company has seen a significant resurgence in interest for safe and reliable transportation, recently deploying the first ever Olli 2.0 at the AZ Maria Middelares hospital in Ghent, Belgium and delivering the first 2.0 in the United States to Jacksonville Transportation Authority at the AV Test & Learn track at Armsdale.
“We share a dream with SPARX Group to completely reimagine the mobility and automotive industry, with the goal to truly move society forward in a profound way,” said Jay Rogers, co-founder and CEO of Local Motors. “Delivering innovative and locally relevant vehicles and mobility solutions has been at the core of our company from the beginning, and we look forward to pushing the industry to be a more clean, customer-centric business. SPARX’s investment, which includes Toyota Motor Corporation and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation as seed LPs for the Mirai Creation Fund II, proves that our commitment to low-speed autonomy and digital manufacturing can make a direct impact in the world through cleaner manufacturing and better mobility experiences for all.”
Throughout the pandemic, Local Motors has continued to address the need for clean and safe autonomy. In July, the company announced a partnership with Beep, the Florida-based Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) provider, with plans to deploy hundreds of autonomous vehicles in the coming years. Additionally, Local Motors made significant strides in validating the safety of its vehicles this year, proving that its 3D-printed structure performs at an equivalent level to traditionally manufactured vehicles during crash testing.
“Our partnership with Beep, improved crash testing process, and distinct manufacturing method puts Local Motors in a unique position capable of meeting consumers’ constantly changing needs around the world today and in the future,” said Rogers. "This funding will help propel our vision forward, and continue making a difference in our communities."
About Local Motors
Local Motors empowers communities to create and manufacture opportunity. We provide innovative and locally relevant vehicles and mobility solutions. We have the unrivaled capacity to make the improbable come to life and are focused on delivering Olli to customers and consumers around the world. LM Industries is the parent company of Local Motors.
About Mirai Creation Fund I and Mirai Creation Fund II
The Mirai Creation Fund I began operations in November 2015 with financing of JPY 13.5 billion from three companies: Toyota Motor Corporation, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, and SPARX, the Fund’s general partner. Ultimately, the Fund received contributions from 20 companies, including the above three. Casting intelligent technologies, robotics, and hydrogen-economy technologies as core technologies of the future, Fund I has invested in approximately 50 companies and projects—from the US, the UK, Israel, Singapore, and Japan—that possess innovative technologies in these fields. In H2 2018, SPARX began managing the Mirai Creation Fund II, which targets the three existing Mirai Creation fields along with the two additional areas of electrification and new materials. As of June 30, 2020, the combined AUM for Fund I and Fund II were JPY 109.3 billion.
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