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Hyundai Motor Company and KIA Corporation, with the support of Unknown Group, launched the Accelerate the Future Challenge to facilitate startup collaborations in the Smart Factory, Robotics, Advance Automotive Technology, and Smart Mobility. With the launch of this second edition, Hyundai Motor Company and KIA Corporation (HMC & KIA) envisioned a brighter future for all.

As an initiative meant to support HMC & KIA reach their innovation goals through startup collaborations, the aim is to build a human-centric mobility ecosystem. The most promising startups will explore a paid proof-of-concept or pilot program with HMC & KIA and one of their business units. This year’s challenge winners are:


Compactive (Germany)

Deploy shape memory alloys to build lightweight, strong and small Integrated Bending Actuators.


Lineat Composites (UK)

Close the loop for carbon fibre with their Aligned Formable Fibre Technology (AFFT™), enabling multiple re-use cycles of carbon fibre.


Plasmabound (Ireland)

Developed a unique pretreatment process that allows improved bonding between fibre-reinforced composites decreasing processing time, manual work, and weight. 


Small Ticket (South Korea)

Providing data-driven insurance where users pay only for the time they actually drive. 


The Smart Tire Company (US)

Commercialising airless tires based on NASA technology, reducing tire weight, maintenance and waste while improving driving range. 


“It has been another exciting year with the Accelerate the Future Challenge. This year, Hyundai and Kia business units were able to engage with innovative startups within the Smart Factory, Robotics, Advanced R&D Solution, and Smart Mobility Solution domains. We are proud to announce the finalists of this year and all the teams are looking forward to collaborating even more actively by working on the PoC projects.” Hyundai Motor Group Senior Open Innovation Manager – Kwangmo Moon


Jurgen Nieuwenhuijsen, Unknown Group COO said “We are excited to see the Accelerate the Future Challenge coming to life once again to facilitate meaningful startup-corporate collaborations. With this challenge, we align with Hyundai Motor Company and KIA Corporation on a common goal: to fix the future of mobility by fueling founders to bring their innovative solutions to scale.”


About the Accelerate the Future Challenge, Hyundai Motor Company and KIA Corporation
The Accelerate the Future Challenge is an open innovation program for startups and scale-ups worldwide. With this initiative, HMC & KIA are establishing meaningful collaborations with like-minded founders working on practical solutions within the Smart Factory, Robotics, Advanced Automotive Technology, and Smart Mobility domains. By committing to a paid proof of concept or pilot program with the most promising ventures, HMC & KIA are looking for equal partners to accelerate a brighter future for all.


About Unknown Group
Unknown is an early-stage venture capital and business development firm, supporting founders and industry leaders to successfully bring innovations to the market: a “Venture Engine®”. With a fresh approach to delivering venture success, lining up the industry, and creating a pool of solutions ready to be adopted by the market.