Mobility

New Houston-based fund raises $50 million to back mobility startups

A new venture capital fund based in Houston and Monterrey, Mexico, has raised $50 million to back mobility startups.

Photo by Getty Images

A new venture capital fund has mobility on the mind — and it's just raised $50 million to support startups working on solutions in the mobility or mobility-related industries.

Proeza Ventures, which is based in Houston and Monterrey, Mexico, reportedly closed its first fund Proeza Ventures I. The fund is backed by Grupo Proeza, a Mexican portfolio management company with two global platforms operating in the mobility and agroindustry sectors, according to the fund's website.

Metalsa The company owns Metalsa, a structural products supplier and the current market leader in frames for light trucks.Photo courtesy of Metalsa

"Our mission is to discover and invest in visionary founders building early stage startups transforming the way in which we think about mobility and with whom we can partner to make a more sustainable world," says Rodolfo Dieck, managing director at Proeza Ventures, in a news release.

With the fund's money, Proenza Ventures will invest in 12 to 15 early or growth-stage startups with solutions or new technology within industrial, smart components, new vehicles, MaaS, and digital data services.

"We expect to be writing first time checks in the range of $500,000 and up to $2 million reserving enough capital to support companies in their development trajectory," says Dieck in the release.

Grupo Proeza comes with a network of experts. The company owns Metalsa, a structural automotive products supplier and current market leader in frames for light trucks in North America, per the release. The subsidiary has more than 60 years of global manufacturing and operating experience within the industry.

The group will use its platform to benefit startups within its portfolio, which already includes Boston-based Indigo Technologies that's developing an in-wheel e-motor and a California-based micro mobility company that is disrupting the scooter ecosystem.

"We back entrepreneurs with an ambitious vision and the grit and operational skills to execute their business plan and transform the sectors they participate in," says Enrique Marcelo Zambrano, principal at P.V., in the release. "We expect to help them leverage our deep expertise in mobility, our unique platform and network."

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This story originally appeared on AutomotiveMap's sister site, InnovationMap.

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The new program is now available in select areas nationwide.

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A.

AARP and Toyota are joining with Dallas area organizations for a new transportation initiative. The AARP Ride@50+ Program allows residents to book rides on multiple modes of transportation and pay for them all in one place. This includes essential rides including COVID-19 vaccination appointments.

"Every day people miss crucial medical appointments because of a lack of access or awareness in using local transportation options," said Kyle Rakow, vice president and national director of AARP Driver Safety. "By arming older adults with knowledge and an accessible platform, we hope to make it easier for those in Dallas to get around, especially if it helps them stay safe and healthy."

Those who wish to receive a COVID-19 vaccinations through Parkland Hospital and Dallas County are eligible for free rides to their appointment. The rides are made possible because of a grant from Toyota.

The AARP Ride@50+ was created as a single point of access to "review, compare, book and pay for local transportation alternatives through a mobile application, online booking platform, or by phone". Essential trips that can be booked via the program include trips to the grocery store, pharmacy, or other medical appointments.

According to program materials, the cost of each ride depends on the length and transportation option chosen. The cost is made clear ahead of booking. Payment is made using any major credit card. Prior to booking a ride, passengers and transportation providers must agree to follow all applicable future and current COVID-19 safety recommendations, including CDC and state guidelines.

The program is available to people of all ages but focuses its efforts on ndividuals 50 and older and other vulnerable individuals. AARP membership is not required.

The program is currently serving residents in Richland and Lexington County, South Carolina; Dallas County, Texas; and Washtenaw County, Michigan.

"The AARP Ride@50+ Program offers a simple, affordable, and efficient solution to finding local transportation for people of all ages," said Sean Suggs, group vice president, Toyota Social Innovation. "This program makes it easier to access critical services and help people get to where they want to go, and that is what mobility for all is about."

For more information, visit www.aarp.org/ridedallas or call 1-800-466-1461

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Hyundai employees present a check for $25,000 to Kids Meals Inc.

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

Long after the last of the snow and ice has melted, Texans are still feeling the effects of the winter storms that made their way through the region in February. Part of those ongoing effects have been food insecurity, which was already a problem in the area, and throughout the country, due to the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hyundai Motor America and its Central Texas dealers recently donated $75,000 in support of ongoing relief efforts.

"Far too many children and their families are experiencing food insecurity made worse by the pandemic and the recent winter storms in Texas," said John deNeve, General Manager, South Central Region, Hyundai Motor America. "That is why we have partnered with Kids' Meals Inc. and the Central Texas Food Bank, to bring much-needed relief to the most vulnerable families across Central Texas."

Kids' Meals Inc. in Houston received $25,000 on May 26. Hyundai's donation will help provide 12,500 free healthy meals to children and families across Houston and Harris County over the next four weeks.

An additional donation of $25,000 was given to the Central Texas Food Bank in Austin on May 29. This donation from Hyundai will help provide 100,000 meals for the estimated 470,000 Central Texans in need of food assistance. Local Austin Hyundai dealer Scott Stark of South Point Hyundai provided a matching donation of $25,000.

"We're so grateful to Hyundai for being such a great community partner," said Derrick Chubbs, President and CEO of the Central Texas Food Bank. "This generous donation of $50,000 to help fight hunger here in Central Texas will provide 200,000 meals for our neighbors in need. Demand for our services is still extremely high as a result of the pandemic and February's winter storms, so this donation will be vital in helping us meet the elevated need."

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