Toyota Motor Corp. has recruited Detroit city official Jill Ford as principal of the corporate venture capital subsidiary Toyota AI Ventures in Silicon Valley.
Ford left her job as the head of entrepreneurship and innovation in Detroit -- a position created for her -- where she acted as special adviser to Mayor Mike Duggan for three and a half years.
In her position at AI Ventures, which began this month, Ford acts as a senior member of the investment team for Toyota's $100 million venture capital fund, reporting to Managing Director Jim Adler.
"We are forming a very strong bond and have been very united in the mission of finding great entrepreneurs to help them start growing their companies," Ford told Automotive News.
The venture capital subsidiary focuses on nurturing companies that specialize in artificial intelligence, robotics and autonomous mobility, as well as data and cloud technology for the automotive industry.
Ford emphasized that although it is based in Silicon Valley, the fund will focus on attracting talent from around the world. When the fund launched in July, three startups -- Israeli company Intuition Robotics, British company SlamCore and Silicon Valley company Nauto -- were already on board.