Bosch India has announced the graduation of 13 technology startups from the inaugural edition of its launch accelerator program, called DNA - Discover, Nurture and Accelerate. The DNA program is the first-of-its kind, external-facing startup initiative by Bosch globally, where it aims at nurturing business ideas from the lab-to-market. It is also focussed on improving the business continuity of the start-up ecosystem in India, the company noted. Bosch is said to have made a total investment of about $ 1 mn (about Rs 7.5 crore) in this program, which includes facilities, set-up and all other related expenses.
The startups are AutoVRse; AerxLabs; Clean Slate Technologies; Yostra; Cosine Labs; Akasa Labs; Titanobots; Neurotech; Eyedentify; Chakr Innovation; Nymble; Insuide and Ecobin. The 13 startups that graduated from the Bosch DNA program have gone through 18 weeks of intensive development, mentoring and piloting. Following this, Bosch will partner and collaborate with these technology start-ups that work in various areas of aerospace, mobility, social impact, healthcare and agriculture.
STARTUP ACCELERATOR PROGRAM
Manohar Esarapu, Head, Bosch India, corporate venture program DNA, said the first stage of the program is in discovering relevant startups that the company could provide the best mentoring to. This is done through various events like hackathons and bootcamps. The identified startups then receive nurturing over 18 weeks to help on building a venture, which covers important areas like idea validation, customer validation and pitching, he added. The final part of aligning is the strongest area of this program, noted Esarapu. This is because once the startup is through the process of being nurtured, Bosch helps the startup in identifying the market for business and relevant clients in the field, helps them scale their operations. “By combining the creativity of start-ups with the experience of Bosch, significant value can be unlocked,” commented Esarapu.
Once the startups are selected to go through the program from the various entries, they gain access to various technology inputs from Bosch. These include technologies like XDK IoT platform, Bezirk personalisation software and the Bosch IoT Cloud. Additionally, they are also given access to facilities such as the design studio, IoT Lab, EMI/EMC Electronics Test labs, as well as the Bosch Vocational Centre. This provides startups with the level of technology and infrastructure that may not be accessible to them otherwise.
Bosch also offers the startups agreements options for go-to-market, IP and percentage stake. The agreement of go-to-market would involve Bosch being a supplier, the startup being a supplier to Bosch, or a joint supplier agreement. In terms of IP, either Bosch buys out the IP from the startup or the IP could be jointly-owned. Under the last form of agreement, Bosch could invest in Seed/Series A or B for a stake in the startup through its venture capital division.
STRATEGY OF DNA PROGRAM
Bosch received 450 applications for the DNA program, from which the company selected the startups that are in line with Bosch’s corporate strategic imperative of “Invented for life.” Teams were eliminated on grounds of lack of clarity with respect to ideas, business plans not offering much potential for growth, the company said. Every passing round saw the teams being judged on their plan, solution, as well as their understanding of the market that they claimed to address. Based on these solutions, Bosch also assessed the value the Group could offer with respect to enhancing their existing business plan. Esarapu said that the chosen start-ups are in those areas that could add value to Bosch’s existing business, as much as it can add to that of the startups.
The company noted that its collaboration with start-ups is part of its long-term growth strategy and not a one-off activity. This is especially in line with the fact that startups create significant value, and India is one of the crucial hotspots. At the end of the first year of engagement with startups, the Bosch Group is partnering with four and is moving into the go-to-market phase. These include Chakr Innovation, which converts soot collected from a diesel generator to printable ink using a proprietary liquid, and Cosine Labs that provides customisable home automation solution. The other two are AutoVRse that harnesses the power of virtual reality to save about 90 % cost invested in life-size prototyping, and Yostra, a start-up that is developing a market viable diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) screening.
Bosch is looking forward to carry ahead its vision with its accelerator program increasingly looking to collaborate with those who build technology solutions in areas such as, IoT, deep learning, analytics, cloud, virtual reality and block chain. The company will launch the second round of its DNA startup accelerator in September, 2017, where it looks forward to identifying and nurturing more startups for future technology initiatives.