ABB’s IdeaHub Innovation Challenge leads to customer-focused collaborations

Six global ventures selected to write the future together with ABB Drives.

ABB, the pioneering technology leader and the IdeaHub, an innovation platform, have concluded their global challenge to find ventures, startups and entrepreneurs willing to take on the challenge of transforming the role of variable speed drives in an industrial setting. With some 100 applications entered into the program from all over the world, ten promising ventures were selected to pitch their ideas to ABB Drives senior management in London at the end of April.

Each venture got 40 minutes for their pitch and to answer questions from the ABB team, resulting in deep engagement and valuable technical and commercial discussions. Following the pitch day, ABB selected six ventures to move ahead with and have nominated a business unit sponsor for each of them to ensure prompt and productive collaboration.

The shortlisted ventures addressed three core challenges facing the next generation of drives and controls:

1.) Connectivity: No drive is an island! According to forecasts, in 2017, there will be more connected devices than people on the planet. 
2.) Simplicity: ‘Simple can be harder than complex; you have to work hard to make it simple’. Ideas which could further simplify the installation, operation or maintenance of drives and motors in industrial settings. 
3.) Intelligence: It’s not what you have, it’s what you do with it. Industrial data is merely numbers unless we apply intelligence to transform it into insight and action. 

Six ventures selected for further collaboration provide solutions in these challenges in their specific areas of expertise; three companies are specialized in artificial intelligence and related solutions, one company is providing an intuitive visual development platform to create enterprise mobile and web apps, one is developing self-tuning controller software and one is delivering solutions for remote expert support worldwide via ruggedized augmented reality (AR) glasses system.

In addition to the selected ventures, ABB thanks all applicants for their high quality proposals and commitment.

Morten Wierod, Managing Director of ABB’s Drives business unit says: “We are excited to announce the results of this competition and look forward to collaborating with the selected ventures to deliver additional value. ABB is at the forefront of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and collaboration with our partners, customers and other entrepreneurs is the key in building emerging ecosystems around the Industrial Internet of Things. Investing in strategic partnerships helps develop solutions that improve our customers’ operational performance and productivity by increasing uptime, speed and output.“

Simon Blair, from the IdeaHub described the Pitch Day event; “Pitch Day was a great success, a long day but a very rewarding day hearing about new industrial innovations all of which were relevant for ABB Drives. The pitches were, without exception, excellent and focused on the venture capabilities, the fit with ABB and potential collaboration opportunities. The ABB team did not let the ventures off lightly, asking challenging questions, however these sessions confirmed the relevance of each venture, their technology and team. In the end, it was a hard decision to select just six ventures but ABB now has a strong portfolio to deliver some great results over the next three months.”

About ABB

ABB (ABBN: SIX Swiss Ex) is a pioneering technology leader in electrification products, robotics and motion, industrial automation and power grids, serving customers in utilities, industry and transport & infrastructure globally. Continuing more than a 125-year history of innovation, ABB today is writing the future of industrial digitalization and driving the Energy and Fourth Industrial Revolutions. ABB operates in more than 100 countries with about 132,000 employees.

About IdeaHub

The IdeaHub is an innovation platform from Venturebright, a venture development and innovation consultancy whose founders have a cumulative 50 years of experience in successfully building and launching new business ventures.

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Each venture got 40 minutes for their pitch and to answer questions from the ABB team, resulting in deep engagement and valuable technical and commercial discussions.

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