Towards a better future living experience

We see a future where our lives will be much easier, our time will be used more efficiently and our impact on the planet will be positive. We plan on making this happen by innovating together. Specifically we are looking for partners within the areas of Smart Cities, Smart Factories, Logistics & Mobility, that can help us accelerate the path towards an improved future.

Why should you join

Ecosystem of solutions

Working with HMC & KIA will give you access to a worldwide network and to a deep expertise and knowledge of the industry.

Learning opportunities

At HMC & KIA we are constantly involved in a number of innovation initiatives and collaborations. You will have discussions and receive support from our skilled teams and gain important insights from the projects.

Impactful collaborations and funding

Potential for POC or pilot project with one of our business units. As well, possibility of strategic future collaborations and/or funding with the most promising solutions.

Who is our ideal partner

We are looking for equal partners to split efforts with and make the change happen!

Preferably you have a validated concept and a working prototype.

You have a novel solution and plans for global scale.

Your business model is based on credible commercial and economic assumptions.

Your team presents expertise in one of our innovation challenges and is eager to work with Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Corporation.

What are the requirements

This is a global challenge that welcomes solutions from all over the world. Participation requirements are:

  1. The solution should be at the working prototype stage or further
  2. The solution should be at a relevant technology level
  3. Be willing to work with Hyundai Motor Company on the implementation of your solution
  4. Be willing to travel


August 2nd, 2021


September 15th, 2021

Applications Deadline

Mid October, 2021

Final Selection

End of October, 2021

Introduction & workshop with HMC & KIA Business Unit

November onwards (if applicable)

Potential PoC/Pilot


What is Accelerate the Future Challenge ?

Accelerate the Future Challenge is a platform launched with the goal to solicit innovative startups and scaleups to collaborate with Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Corporation. By exploiting our synergies, we can transform opportunities into impactful solutions!

How does the selection work?

During every selection round, applicants are reviewed by experts from Hyundai Motor Company Kia Corporation and Unknown Group. The most promising ones will be invited for an interview to further assess the solution and explore further how a challenge collaboration or partnership with Hyundai Motor Company could look like.

How many startups will be selected?

We expect that up to five startups/scaleups will be selected to participate in the Workshop with the relevant HMC & KIA’s team. In the unlikely event that there are less than ten applicants that meet the minimum scoring criteria, both Hyundai Motor Company, Kia Corporation and Unknown Group reserves the right to select fewer finalists.

Who will judge the applicants and select finalists?

Researchers and open innovation teams from Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Corporation will review the applications and select the finalists. Unknown Group will facilitate the whole process.

How will the program be affected by COVID-19?

Safety is our number one priority and we are monitoring closely the travel restrictions and status of COVID-19. At this point, we still plan on moving forward with real-life workshops, however, should the situation not improve by then, we will plan to host the workshop virtually.

When is the application deadline?

The application window closes on September 15th, 2021 11:59 PM (Pacific Time).

If I don’t have a working prototype, can I still apply?

Yes, your application will still be accepted, however, it is preferred that you have a validated concept and a working prototype. Please be sure to describe where you are in the process towards developing a working prototype and associated challenges that you are facing.

Is an interview necessary during the selection process?

Yes, once the application window closes, we will shortlist and contact the applicants to arrange interviews.

Do we have to submit all of the files requested?

Yes, all of the files requested on the application will be reviewed and required for a complete submission.

What do you mean by Proof of Concept (POC) project?

We define Proof of Concept as testing of a specific function and testing the technology in a live environment using Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Corporation’s facilities. In the application, we request that you specify details around 1) stage of your technology 2) intended goals of collaboration 3) timeline and budget.

Are finalists guaranteed investment with Hyundai Motor Company, Kia Corporation or Unknown Group?

No, the finalists are not guaranteed investments from Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Corporation or Unkown Group. Yet, there is budget available for development which will be assigned on a per-case-basis.

What type of investment will be deployed?

The type of investment will vary with each finalist and dependent on a successful POC project. Unfortunately, we cannot specify how much will be allocated for strategic investment at this point of time.

When should I expect to find out if I am a finalist?

We will notify you by email if you have made it to the shortlist on September 17th, 2021.