One of the biggest investors behind Sensible 4 is NordicNinja VC, a Japanese venture capital fund, with some hundred million euros of a portfolio. NordicNinja VC is focusing on Finnish and Baltic start-ups and they are backed up by major Japanese companies, such as Honda, Panasonic, Omron and Japan Bank for International Cooperation.
In Finland, and especially in Helsinki, NordicNinja VC is personified by Tomosaku Sohara, Managing Partner of the investment company. He is not just interested in Finnish technology companies but has also moved to live in Helsinki.
Above all, Sohara considers Japanese and Finnish cultures pretty much similar. Therefore it’s easy to work together even though we come almost from opposite sides of the globe. And what comes to technology, we’re a good fit there too: “Finnish companies are good at digitalisation and software. Then again in Japan, we’re good at making electronics and other hardware. Obviously, to make vehicles drive autonomously you need to have both.”
Solving the Biggest Challenge of Our Time
NordicNinja VC wants to invest in companies that are solving real global problems.
“We’re not into new SNS, mobile games or anything like that.”
The issues Sensible 4 is dealing with are no less but the biggest challenges of our time. The climate is changing. In Finland, June was the hottest ever recorded. Also, cities around the world are being crippled with congestion.
Transportation plays a major role in carbon emissions, causing extreme weather phenomena and global warming. Electric and automated last-mile shuttles offer a convenient option for passenger and goods transportation with less emissions, fewer privately owned vehicles and less traffic.
“Sustainability is our top priority. Indeed, it’s a top priority for everyone nowadays. I haven’t met a single founder of a company who doesn’t think and act like this”, Sohara continues.
This is one reason for NordicNinja VC to invest in Sensible 4, a company developing Level 4 autonomy for driverless vehicles on predefined routes. Sensible 4’s approach is a technologically more feasible approach than universal Level 5 autonomy.
“Another major factor in investing in Sensible 4 was the team. The four founders of Sensible 4 have a unique set of skills. Not just technical and scientific but also the business and management side is equally important.”
The global pandemic of COVID-19 has changed the transportation landscape. As we’re returning to normal, for whatever it turns out to be, Sensible 4 continues to execute the last-mile autonomous transportation strategy, while maintaining the flexibility and agility to adjust with the changing world.