Infiniti is opening a North American Infiniti Lab, and the new startup accelerator will be located in Toronto. Infiniti's goal is to help grow new companies dealing with the internet of things as well as advancing smart city initiatives.
The carmaker opened their first Infiniti Lab in Hong Hong in 2015, and they are the first car brand to launch a startup accelerator in Canada. An accelerator is a program that gives mentorship, education, networking, access to funding, and help to startup companies and ends with those companies making their pitches and showing off their products at the end to venture capitalists. Ideally, at least one of those pitches will get enough interest to have their project funded. It's a chance to have Canadian tech innovators get their ideas built, seen, and succeed in the marketplace.
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Accelerators are normally run over a fixed term, and Infiniti's will last for one month. The top team in the Toronto program moves on into a three-month Hong Kong program, which launches in July. That program has seen graduates including innovative fuel cell designers Kraftwerk and Dagmy Motors, which created solutions to help lower battery pack production costs.
Infiniti Lab will be run in partnership with Toronto-based Multiplicity, a non-profit group that helps to educate and promote startup companies. Infiniti Canada managing director Stephen Lester said that "Canada is brimming with talent and opportunity when it comes to start-ups, and Infiniti Canada is proud to help accelerate the country’s next entrepreneurial stars."
Applications are open now for the Toronto program, and Infiniti is looking for the internet of things technologies and ideas in areas like smart homes, automated living, and connected vehicles. They're also looking for urban mobility, planning, and smart buildings ideas.