May Mobility’s Edwin Olson and Nina Grooms Lee and Toyota AI Ventures’ Jim Adler on validating your startup idea

When a founder has a work history that includes the name of the parent company of one of their key investors, you probably assume that was one of the first deals to come together. Not so with May Mobility and Toyota AI Ventures, which connected for the company’s second seed round, after May went out and raised its original seed purely on the strength of its own ideas and proposed solutions.

That’s one of the many interesting things we learned from speaking to May Mobility co-founder and CEO Edwin Olson, as well as Chief Product Officer Nina Grooms Lee and Toyota AI Ventures founding partner Jim Adler on an episode of Extra Crunch Live.

Extra Crunch Live goes down every Wednesday at 3 p.m. EDT/noon PDT. Our next episode is with Sequoia’s Shaun Maguire and Vise’s Samir Vasavada, and you can check out the upcoming schedule right here.

Meanwhile, read on for highlights from our chat with Olson, Grooms Lee and Adler, and then stay tuned at the end for a recording of the full session, including our live pitch-off.

A different approach to corporate VC

One thing Adler brought up early in the chat is that Toyota AI Ventures likely takes a different approach than most traditional corporate VCs, which are often thought of as being more incentivized by strategic alignment than by venture-scale returns. Adler says the firm he founded within the automaker’s corporate umbrella actually does behave much more like a traditional VC in some ways than many would assume.