This Global Giant's VC Arm Invests In Technologies Of the Future With the world in the midst of what is being termed the fourth industrial revolution, most major corporates are concerned about keeping up and innovating fast enough to provide the kind of solutions asked for by customers, according to Arvind Vasu, senior vice president of Asia investments at ABB Technology Ventures.

By Debroop Roy

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

ABB
Arvind Vasu, Senior Vice President- Asia Investments, ABB Technology Ventures addresses the audience at ATV Startup Pitchfest in Bengaluru

Global technology giant ABB's venture capital arm prefers to invest in companies that have some collaborative capabilities with the Switzerland-origin firm.

"We prefer to ensure that they have a collaboration with an ABB business because otherwise ABB doesn't learn anything and neither does the startup get support to scale up and get whatever they are looking for," said Arvind Vasu, senior vice president of Asia investments at ABB Technology Ventures.

Vasu said unless there is some collaboration, they see that the investment isn't very successful.

Apart from VC investment, ABB also has an accelerator programme Synerleap, which offers mentorship, investment and access to the ABB network. Synerleap started by focusing on Sweden but is now present in eight countries.

In November, they chose three Indian start-ups who won at their pitchfest in Bengaluru to be part of the programme as well.

The start-ups that won were: Flutura Decision Sciences, an AI solutions company, Ecolibrium Energy which uses an Internet of Things platform to improve efficiency and uptime and Numocity Technologies which provides a platform for providing energy as a service.

Why Invest In Start-Ups?

According to Vasu, with the world in the midst of what is being termed the fourth industrial revolution, most major corporates are concerned about keeping up and innovating fast enough to provide the kind of solutions asked for by customers.

"If someone's already invented the wheel, then why reinvent it?" he said, explaining the idea behind most major corporates including ABB getting into the start-up ecosystem.

Gaetana Sapienza, who is head of operations at Synerleap, agreed and said, "you can be strong by yourself, but you can really be awesome if you partnership and work in an ecosystem, so that's what we see as an important way forward."

Focus Areas

Vasu said they invest in three different buckets: the factories of the future, the future of mobility and the future of smart buildings.

"The tech that we look at is quite broad...whatever takes us to the next level to the future," he said, adding, "our slogan is, let's write the future. that fits very well with start-ups."

Investment Thesis

While the accelerator is meant to support very early stage start-ups, the venture capital arm doesn't invest in paper ideas, said Vasu. For ABB technology ventures to get out there and take a stake in a start-up, it must have some kind of revenue stream and a prototype of their product that works.

They generally participate in Series A or later rounds but have made exceptions with some seed funding as well, he said.

In 2018, the firm, alongside IndusAge Partners, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Qualcomm Ventures, led a $14 million Series B round in Binny Bansal-backed agritech start-up Stellapps.

Vasu said a certain momentum had come in the space of artificial intelligence and machine learning, so one could expect more investments there going forward.

From Synerleap's point of view, Hampus Scharing, who is head of collaboration for industrial automation, said he had seen a lot of potential in those areas as well and expects Bengaluru to become the industrial hub for such technologies.

Debroop Roy

Former Correspondent

Covering the start-up ecosystem in and around Bangalore. Formerly an energy reporter at Reuters. A film, cricket buff who also writes fiction on weekends.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Related Topics

Leadership

International Security Firm Welcomes Female India Native to an Essential Leadership Position

Yasmin Brar has been appointed as the Operations Strategy Director, a role that underscores the company's commitment to innovation, expansion, and strategic management

Business News

A 29-Year-Old CEO Quit Microsoft To Build His Startup — And Just Scored A Deal on Shark Tank

Aabesh De tapped into a niche need during the pandemic and founded Flora, a houseplant care startup.

Business Ideas

55 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.

Business News

Want to Start a Billion-Dollar Business? Look to These Two Industries, Which Have the Most Unicorn Growth

During a tough fundraising year overall last year, the value of cybersecurity and AI unicorns saw double-digit growth.

Devices

Grab a Wireless 4-in-1 Charging Hub for $39.97

No need to worry about a dead battery slowing your hard-earned progress.

Science & Technology

AI May Not Take Your Job, But Someone Using AI Likely Will — Here's Why.

Artificial intelligence is becoming ubiquitous across marketing and public relations agencies. These tools can increase productivity, but there are risks to consider.