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Nokia Pumps $100M into Connected Cars

Sarah Thomas
5/5/2014
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Nokia is investing $100 million to find more ways to integrate its HERE mapping and location services into more connected vehicles.

HERE is one of the divisions that remains, in addition to infrastructure and patents, now that Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) has sold off its devices business to Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT). It's long been a small, but profitable venture for the vendor, generating 8% of the standalone Nokia's revenues. (See Nokia Ushers In New Era, Retires NSN Name and Microsoft Officially Closes Nokia Buy.)

Now Nokia says it's looking to do more with the location division, hence the launch of an $100 million Connected Car fund to be managed by Nokia Growth Partners (NGP) and used to invest in innovative connected car companies that would help bolster its HERE business. Nokia is specifically targeting growth in the US, India, China, and Europe.

This is the fourth fund that NGP has managed on behalf of Nokia over the past decade, and it brings Nokia's total invested with its venture capital arm to $700 million.

Why this matters
Nokia's mapping and location services have built a good track record with vehicles over the past 25 years, powering around 80% of car navigation systems through partners like Amazon, Microsoft, and Yahoo. But, the connected car space is also becoming more hotly contested of late, so Nokia will find itself up against others like Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL), which recently introduced CarPlay, its updated operating system for the in-car interaction.(See Apple CarPlay Puts Siri in the Driver's Seat.)

Being free from its devices business, however, may end up helping HERE as it allows Nokia to build for other platforms like Android and iOS, as well as pursue partnerships it might not have considered when it was tethered to its own devices.

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— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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nasimson
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nasimson,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/6/2014 | 10:26:23 AM
the next big thing.
Connected cars, in car wifi, car navigation, driving related apps, in car entertainment, driver less cars etc are the next big thing. Nokia has all the potential to crack this. But they had all the potential to crack smart phone market as well.
nasimson
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nasimson,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/6/2014 | 10:25:58 AM
the next big thing.
Connected cars, in car wifi, car navigation, driving related apps, in car entertainment, driver less cars etc are the next big thing. Nokia has all the potential to crack this. But they had all the potential to crack smart phone market as well.
MordyK
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MordyK,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/5/2014 | 3:32:24 PM
Re: HERE and now
It was a mobile app. Your point was precisely what we discussed in many calls and emails and it frustrated the product managers to no end, but at the time atleast Nokia didn't commit any assets to the API platform and the API's are getting their first upgrade since 2010 to support LTE.
SarahReedy
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SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
5/5/2014 | 3:16:40 PM
Re: HERE and now
Interesting. Was your work specifically related to in-car nav or mobile apps? Having a good relationship with developers will be huge for Nokia if it wants to acheive widespread adoption. Seems like a lot of companies are still struggling to realize this.
Ariella
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Ariella,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/5/2014 | 3:11:31 PM
Re: HERE and now
@Sarah You're saying that tehre is a glimmer of hope for Nokia's future in this direction, I take it.  Cars will deliver them from the devastation of their phone business. 
MordyK
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MordyK,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/5/2014 | 3:10:30 PM
Re: HERE and now
After recently working on a project with Here's platform, I would suggest that they spend some of that money on their API platform which is extremely difficult to work with in comparison to their competitors. 
SarahReedy
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SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
5/5/2014 | 2:46:49 PM
Re: HERE and now
It's maps definitely have a good reputation, and I think its existing customer line up is a good indication of its success. Plus, many of them have connected car aspirations, which will line up with Nokia's new push.
Mitch Wagner
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Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
5/5/2014 | 2:21:57 PM
Re: HERE and now
Nokia is one of the few companies that generates its own GPS maps -- sending out cars for mapping, and so forth. That's an enormous investment that hopefully will pay off through complementary investments in connected cars. 
SarahReedy
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SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
5/5/2014 | 12:25:20 PM
HERE and now
Good move on Nokia's part to show it's serious about making its new standalone business work. HERE is obviously a lot smaller than its main revenue driver Networks, but it's a really important business for Nokia. There's a lot of competition, but I think not having devices will actually help it in this case as it looks for partners and companies to invest in. 
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