ABB continues to commercialize in partnership with startups

ABB’s Drives Business management team met with the founders and CEOs of ten startups from around the world at the “Connect, Collaborate and Commercial” program’s annual pitch day event in Bengaluru, India

The success of any business hinges on its ability to innovate and collaborate. A single idea or product needs to evolve to meet changing preferences and customer needs. ABB has been an innovation leader in the industrial technology sector for more than 130 years. Today, ABB has many ways to encourage innovation – from its own R&D labs and ABB Technology Ventures (ATV) to specific venture programs connected to its businesses.

For the past two years, ABB’s Drives’ business has run a startup collaboration program called ‘Connect, Collaborate and Commercialize’ – or CCC. Each year, the business ‘connects’ with hundreds of solution providers, customers, startups and established companies to understand emerging opportunities. ‘Collaborations’ take place to validate the growth potential of lean pilot projects. Opportunities are then ‘commercialized’ when all parties see the potential upside. An annual pitch day from ten start-ups is a key way in which the Drive’s business creates initial connections.

ABB’s second CCC took place in Bengaluru, India recently. “We held the CCC program pitch day in Bengaluru for two reasons,” said Morten Wierod, managing director of ABB Drives. “First, India is a major market: we know our local customers are interested in piloting new solutions that we can bring to the market with the help of ventures. Second, India is a great source of innovation – four out of the 10 finalists presenting at the annual pitch day were from India.”

The ‘pitch’ to ABB management involves a 20 minute presentation from the start-up company followed by a 20 minute in-depth interview by the ABB senior management team. Exploratory discussions continue informally. All participating ventures are considered to be leaders in innovation, even though only seven of the ten will continue to the next level of commitment, Collaboration.

A collaboration with last year’s winner, Tellmeplus, is now in the commercial stage within the CCC program. Its Artificial Intelligence software solution, Predictive Objects, is currently being implemented in ABB Drives’ service operations.

“Aside from the quality of the interaction with senior decision makers at ABB’s Drives business, the most valuable thing for us was the connect and collaborate side of the program,’ said Benoit Gourdon, CEO of Tellmeplus. “It enabled us to prove our AI solution against a real-world predictive analytics case with real data end users. Thanks to the CCC program we are able to demonstrate value for both our business and ABB.”

“CCC aims to create value for our customers in ways which benefit end customers – and gives the start-ups new customers and increased revenue, while bringing new innovation to ABB,” added Juho Vuorio, Innovation and venture program manager for ABB Drives.

“We’re deeply thankful for the great interest and commitment from the ventures in general and pitch day finalists. I feel we have succeeded in building a program that avoids many typical pitfalls in corporate and startup collaboration. Over the coming months, we will initiate collaboration projects globally and are continuously connecting with new ventures.”

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