The next round of the program kicks off in the spring of this year and will bring together industrial companies and start-ups specifically scouted to meet their needs. In the process, the young entrepreneurs get to benefit from being coached by successful industrial players, while the established companies profit from the agility and creativity of fledgling start-ups.
"The TechFounders program acts as a technological and cultural accelerator for our digitalization activities," underlines Klaus Deller, Chairman of the Executive Board of Knorr- Bremse AG. "We find that our corporate values of Entrepreneurship, Technological Excellence and Passion are present to a very high degree in these young experts and founders."
Twice a year, TechFounders goes scouting for start-ups that match the specifications of companies like Knorr-Bremse and cover key areas of technology. Over a period of 20 weeks, the start-ups join forces with the innovation and development departments at Knorr-Bremse to develop a prototype. During this time, they can utilize the Group’s infrastructure, such as the proving grounds for winter testing of commercial vehicles in Arjeplog, Sweden.
The Managing Director of TechFounders, Lorenz Hartung, describes the benefits for the industrial partner companies as follows: "The companies are looking to stock up their innovation pipeline, get to know start-ups and thus have a chance to familiarize themselves with innovative ideas at an early stage and join with the start-ups to drive these ideas forward."
Along with the product development opportunities, Hartung can see the start-ups benefiting from entering into sales partnerships, as well as from access to corporate knowledge or suppliers that would otherwise be simply beyond their reach.
Knorr-Bremse is the leading manufacturer of braking systems and supplier of additional sub-systems for rail and commercial vehicles, with sales totaling over EUR 6 billion in 2017. In 30 countries, some 28,000 employees develop, manufacture, and service braking, entrance, control, and energy supply systems, HVAC and driver assistance systems, as well as steering systems, and powertrain and transmission control solutions. As a technology leader, through its products the company has been making a decisive contribution to greater safety by road and rail since 1905.
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