Industry meets Makers – Expert Talk@TELE
How large companies learn to be innovative again from startups
What makes a successful co-creation and collaboration process? This question is highly topical. And was especially pertinent to the around 100 guests invited to Sandra Stromberger’s first Industry Meets Makers Expert Talk event @TELE Haase on July 14, 2016. The perfect setting for the event was the TELE production hall. Whoever was in search of partners this evening was sure to find them here, because the list of entrepreneurs present was long.
To begin with, a brief overview of the status of the project was given to the partners and supporters of Industry Meets Makers, including, among others, the Vienna Business Agency, Wien Energie, DigitalCity.Wien, IoT Austria, T-Mobile, Copa Data, the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology, and Greiner Group.
Those who always wanted to know how enterprises and startups are able to most easily come to the table, what there is to be done, and if there are worlds between the old and new corporate culture, and who would benefit from such cooperation, came to the subsequent twin conference and so-called “lightning talks” between enterprises, intermediaries, and startups, and they surely got their money’s worth. Short and sweet and quite frank and humorous, “young guns and old-timers” spoke of the successes and challenges of their cooperation.
The event was fun and exciting, and our network gained a great new node. A big thank you to Eva and her organization team!!!
The Meeting Paper, with an overview of the contributions from the event is available here for download.
The source of all pictures: Linse2
The big ones on the search for innovation
T-Mobile provides startups with, for example, its IoT Box as a starting point for a “proof of concept” of their ideas. The box contains an M2M module with various standard interfaces (GPIO, Bluetooth) in order to connect sensors or machines/devices. The acquired data is then transferred via the integrated SIM card to a cloud system.
“We were surprised at how many young people deal with our ideas, and we very quickly become acquainted with some very exciting people,” enthusiastically stated Matthias Fiegl from T-Mobile.
Research institutions are also very interested in economic cooperation. “We want to try something new. Away from the classical research. Here at Industry Meets Makers we can find many new and good ideas and opportunities for collaboration,” explains Stefan Vielguth of the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology.
Wien Energie is also open to new ideas. “As an energy supplier, we are constantly looking for exciting projects with future potential. We quickly realized that we need the support of young, innovative Makers,” explains Lorena Skiljan, regarding Wien Energie’s approach.
TELE and its startups
“We are a 53-year old company, which invests in what it does well. We are good at developing products and bringing them to maturity. Startups can have good innovation, so we bring them in-house. This has now been working with Twingz for 2.5 years and with Freygeist for 1.5 years – sometimes great, sometimes less great,”
smirks Markus Stelzmann from the management of TELE Haase. One must be aware that two different corporate cultures come together in such a cooperation. We are used to working with product requirements/specifications. Startups have an idea and just go for it without a plan. This can be rather unsettling for our developers,” Stelzmann continues. “At first, our specifications existed only orally,” laughs Stephan Hebenstreit of Freygeist. “Explicit documentation does not fit the character of a startup, which wants to experiment and make rapid changes in a relatively short sequence of trial and error,” adds Werner Weihs-Sedivy of Twingz. The “clash of cultures” between TELE and the startups is now well under control, and all benefit greatly from the cooperation. “It was particularly great for us that we could go to TELE with their in-house production to make the step up from prototype to a small series run. We had to define a lot of things, which takes time, but also brings as an advantage greater clarity for, e.g., an investor pitch,” explains Weihs-Sedivy.
On both the technical and human levels you can meet and learn. Processes become more straightforward. With us, in this way, a product came out which works,” said Hebenstreit.
“And we have learned from our startup’s flexibility. Flexibility that we need in a world that is becoming more adaptable. Now, we also try simple things and learn something new every day in the course of doing so,” concludes Stelzmann.
Tapping unused parking spaces
Microtronics networks devices with the internet “Machine to web” and supports startups, together with the incubator Technology Startup Center, in their implementation of clever ideas. “In the first phase, it is mostly about finding a business,” explains Martin Buber of Microtronics.
“Our focus areas are IoT and M2M concepts, and we make young guns with good ideas startup-ready in four months, so that they can demonstrate their product to crowdfunding, investors, etc.,”
said Buber. One success story is maybe that of Payuca, a startup that has taken to the challenge of the parking problem in the city. “With our system, we open up parking spaces that lie dormant on private land behind locked gates. In order to get a parking place, you just need our app and a positive credit balance, find a suitable parking site via the app, navigate to the location, open the private gate via Bluetooth, BLE, NFC, drive in, and park on the branded parking space. The billing is done automatically,” explains Viktor Schaider of Payuca.
From fish and plants
An age of almost 150 years is no protection against innovation. Which is why global plastics company Greiner Technology and Innovation, with 9,000 employees worldwide, also cooperates with startups. We live by the motto ‘Plastics for Life’ and are interested in entirely new areas, such as aquaponics,” says Hannes Moeseneder from Greiner. Gert Zechner from the startup Ponganic explains what aquaponics is.
“Aquaponics is an ancient cultural technique that has recently been rediscovered, by which the excretions of fish are used as fertilizer for vegetable production without soil. The water is filtered and in turn passes to the fish. What makes this unique: It creates a closed circuit, which can also be installed in a modern apartment building. Soon the first aquaponic system will be integrated into a house in Vienna, and together with apartments, co-working space, Fab Lab, market hall and restaurant, will act as a showcase for a new ecosystem,” said an excited Zechner.
Theresa Steininger from Wohnwagon has made climate change her subject. “The average European possesses 10,000 items. To continue to meet the current resource consumption rate, we would need two Earths by 2030. What do you really need for a good life?
What could future living look like? We develop self-sufficiency modules, closed circuits, container homes, tiny houses, and single-family homes.
How is that possible? With a photovoltaic system and based on IoT, with intelligent control dependent on the weather. We have also developed a separate biological toilet that purifies water and re-feeds it into the circuit. Our houses and containers are built only with natural materials, preferably with regional partners,” says Steininger.
In Space and on Earth
“We want to save the world. Therefore, we have partnered with the European Space Agency and help them measure aerosols in the atmosphere. A satellite measures the reflected solar radiation. Our algorithm converts this to images. In this way, impacts of aerosols can be calculated and forecasts are produced. We are also a software partner of HTT Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, who are working to develop a kind of pneumatic tube system to transport people at more than 1,200 km/h. We want only the best staff. Therefore, we organize an annual Coding Contest and also run a Startup Incubator,” says Mario Luef, clearly setting out the vision of Catalysts.
IoT and Fashion
“Sticklett combines fashion with IT and IoT. We have developed a ladybug, which concerned parents can put directly on the clothes of their babies and children. The ladybug is equipped with sensors that measure vital signs such as temperature, respiration, heart rate, and movement, and communicate via Smartphone. If the child has problems with breathing or a fever, the system issues an alarm,” explains Michaela Schicho of Sticktlett.
How big and small come together
AAIA – Austrian Angel Investors Association
The AAIA – Austrian Angel Investors Association is a network of Business Angel Investors and large companies, such as Post AG. We facilitate co-investment in startups. Education is also an important point. So we teach startups how to apply and present. We then connect promising startups with investors. The ideal here is the triple construct: Established Company – Startup – Business Angel,” explains Lisa-Marie Fassl of AAIA.
Whataventure also aids in networking and growth. “We guide startups. Startups are innovative and fast. Corporates can scale well, but are not so good at innovation. Startups can be quite innovative and seek scaling. And they have a passion for a subject and require visibility/publicity. That is why it is so exciting when corporates and startups work together. We support them in this,” explains Lisa Pecnik of Whataventure.
Vienna Business Agency
Corporates and startups can find another useful partner in the Vienna Business Agency. “The Business Agency offers a Co-Creation Lab Program and searches for other interested companies. Our submissions phase lasts until 8/19. Then a four-step process begins, whereby medium and large enterprises can submit challenges, which are then appraised by a sounding board. Thereafter, the formulated challenges are published. Afterwards, innovative technology companies are invited to submit their solutions. The Business Agency assists in finding the project partner, preparing the project plan, and also in the implementation of the project and relevant funding opportunities,” explains Georg Sedlbauer from the Business Agency about the program.