ATV was established to identify and accelerate disruptive, next generation technologies in power and automation and to increase the pace of innovation at ABB. To do so, ATV was set up to execute upon the opportunities which traditional corporate M&A and business development might not be able to capture. We do this through early- and mid-stage equity investments with initial checks of $1-$5 million as well as joint development and other new business creation which falls outside the scope of ABB’s traditional R&D activities. Since ABB’s funds come from ABB’s balance sheet, there really is no upper limit to the size of the investment nor is ATV constrained by the typical fund cycle or dry powder issues of financial investors.
Every ATV investment passes typical venture capital thresholds for financial returns and must meet the strategic objectives of the ABB Group while helping accelerate – today or in the future – a business line or area of business interest for ABB. Each deal has the buy-in and sponsorship of an ABB Executive Committee member and the ATV team works hard to ensure each of the portfolio companies is coordinated with one or more business units (BUs) early in the evaluation process.
From the outset of working with potential investments, ATV acts as a bridge between the startup and the key ABB players partnering with ATV: global BUs and technology managers, any of ABB’s seven corporate research centers (CRCs), as well as local/regional BUs, sales groups and product groups. This ensures that there is full alignment of expectations and goals and maximum ease around a smaller company being able to tap into ABB’s global network of ABB expertise and resources. With over 140,000 employees and being the largest supplier of industrial motors and drives, the largest provider of generators to the wind industry and the largest supplier of power grids in the world, the ABB network is a formidable asset for a startup of any stage.