Get All Access for $5/mo

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.
Entrepreneurs

Academic Excellence Is Not Necessary for Success in Life: Hear from the Founder of this Exciting New Digital Education Platform.

Many educational platforms are emerging these days to help people qualify for various types of entrance examinations. But what about the students who don't want to take the traditional path, the ones who don't rank among the top 10 in the classroom yet still aim high in life?

Growing a Business

We're Great at Wishing and Bad at Making Choices — How Obscure Goals and Narrow Targets Derail Our Success

When we're trying to reach a goal, we lose sight of the fact that we need to make tradeoffs. Goals aren't as simple as a proclamation — they are part of a bigger strategy.

Growing a Business

3 Branding Strategies That Will Make Any Brand Stand Out

Here's how to differentiate your brand in three essential steps — understanding your unique selling proposition, leveraging storytelling, and valuing feedback.

Science & Technology

No More ChatGPT? Here's Why Small Language Models Are Stealing the AI Spotlight

Entrepreneurs can leverage this growing tech to create innovative, efficient and targeted AI solutions.

Growing a Business

The Top 5 AI Tools That Can Revolutionize Your Workflow and Boost Productivity

Discover the top 5 AI tools for marketing and content creation that every marketer needs to know.

Franchise

Four Takeaways for the Franchise Industry From My Time at the Republican National Convention

Matt Haller, President and CEO of the IFA, says the stakes are high for franchisors and franchisees in the upcoming presidential election.