Fostering Success

Published: November 9, 2017

Photo: Jonas Bilberg

A year after its launch, SynerLeap, ABB’s innovation growth hub located in Sweden, is showing the great things that happen when entrepreneurial tech companies share the expertise and resources of a global innovator.

We began with four startup companies when we inaugurated SynerLeap, at the September 2016 event whose luminary guests included His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustav of Sweden and ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer.

We now have 19 startups, all sharing the founding goal of SynerLeap: to create an ecosystem where ABB enables small technology companies to grow and expand on a global stage.

With our focus in three areas — industrial automation, robotics and energy — our aim is to shorten innovation cycles, decrease time to market and together make the companies more competitive. Digitalization is of course present across all areas.

The idea of a technology “incubator” is nothing new.

But SynerLeap doesn’t focus on hatchlings. Instead, here in the heart of the ABB Corporate Research Center in Västerås, Sweden, we give fully fledged startups the opportunity to take flight. Rather than an incubator, think of SynerLeap as an accelerator or growth hub.

Gaining access to ABB’s unique and world-class infrastructure and deep industry knowledge gives SynerLeap member companies the ability to accelerate their growth and market reach. They can tap the power of more than 20 innovative ABB labs in fields that include robotics, mechatronics, high-voltage electronics, prototyping, user experience and digital communications.

And the world is taking note of the SynerLeap partners

Jakob Johansson, the CEO of one of the original members, Gleechi, has been listed by the MIT Technology Review as one of the Top 35 Technology Innovators Under Age 35, for creating “an artificial intelligence system which improves the quality of digital representations of hands in any virtual reality format, giving users the ability to interact with their surroundings in 3D.”

A more recent arrival, which has developed and demonstrated a driverless electronic cargo truck, has been widely written up in the technology media and a leading US news organization, The Washington Post, which marveled over “a new type of vehicle being tested by Swedish start-up Einride’’ that “could soon disrupt the transportation industry.

SynerLeap gives entrepreneurs a wider scope for their vision. Instead of aiming their technologies at the consumer market, they can see the potential of industrial markets and the path for getting there. I’ve often thought, for example, that it’s too bad so many smart brains out there are being used to create apps that are offered on app stores – but are used by few people, if any. Imagine how much greater the global benefit if more of those good brains were being put to use to improve industrial-scale products and services.

That’s the promise of SynerLeap. The Synergies between our partners and ABB’s resources and support system can enable start-ups to take the big Leap.

And we increase the opportunities for synergies, and making the leap, by supporting companies from a variety of fields. Right now, our startups are working in areas that include IoT, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, augmented reality, block chain, smart sensors and next-generation transportation solutions.

SynerLeap members work freely in the ABB Corporate Research Center in order to maximize the interaction with ABB colleagues.

Drinking coffee together, discussing as much as possible and increasing social interaction in other impromptu, yet important, ways is key to shortening innovation cycles.

This social interaction is key to SynerLeap’s method because cultures are very different in a startup and in a large corporation, and trust must be earned. That is the only way to create an innovative environment where everyone benefits. Over the past year, people from both sides came to understand and appreciate that regardless of whether working for SynerLeap or ABB, everyone shared a similar passion for excellence, innovation, creativity. Mutual respect leads to mutual trust.

The collaboration has already led to many common technology development and verification projects. For example, Mobilaris, a SynerLeap company, and ABB provided a system for improved security and decision support for the Apatyt Rusvumchorrsky mine in Russia. Combining Tropos Wi-Fi infrastructure from ABB as a communication route and Mobilaris’ Mining Intelligence application, the solution enables improvements in the mine’s overall safety and productivity.

And this is only the start. During the coming year we will develop even more capabilities through collaboration. So that when we observe SynerLeap’s second anniversary, the celebration will be even bigger.

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A great start, and the best is yet to come

Published: December 22, 2016

SynerLeap sign

About one year ago, in the autumn of 2015, an idea was formed that ABB should setup a place, a hub, for startups. What if we could let fresh companies with bold ideas come and try their ideas in our labs and collaborate with partners and ABB?

In September 2016 the idea became reality and the innovation growth hub SynerLeap was officially born. The inauguration was carried out by Ibrahim Baylan, Minister of Energy and Policy Coordination, Bazmi Husain, ABB CTO  and Ulrich Spiesshofer, ABB CEO, at the same event where ABB Corporate Research was celebrating 100 years of innovation in Sweden. Four companies joined us from the start; Mobilaris, Gleechi, Evothings and Nodd. A couple of months later, on December 8, we had already 10 companies, originating from all parts of Sweden, on board and in the facilities.

Inauguration of SynerLeap, September 5, 2016. Ibrahim Baylan, Minister of Energy and Policy Coordination, Bazmi Husain, ABB CTO, Ulrich Spiesshofer, ABB CEO is cutting the band.

Inauguration of SynerLeap, September 5, 2016. Ibrahim Baylan, Minister of Energy and Policy Coordination, Bazmi Husain, ABB CTO, Ulrich Spiesshofer, ABB CEO is cutting the band.

In the second week of December we had three important visitors. First the Swedish prince Carl Philip on Monday. Secondly, on Tuesday, a journalist from Computer Sweden, who wrote an interesting article about SynerLeap. The week ended by a visit from the Polish ambassador in Sweden. However, for me and the SynerLeap team, the best thing that happened that week, was that the companies finally were in the building, a long wait was over! It was probably the best thing happening, not only that week, but in entire 2016.

Prince Carl Philip met the SynerLeap companies. Photo: Jonas Bilberg

Prince Carl Philip met the SynerLeap companies. Photo: Jonas Bilberg

Now we have Christmas and the New Year’s celebration around the corner and we should all take some well earned break and spend time with our families and friends. In 2017 we will come back with fully charged batteries ready for some serious collaboration. The SynerLeap team is working on plans for various events throughout the year and will arrange many opportunities to meet both ABB people as well as our many partners. Stay tuned and make sure to follow us on social media: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!

I want to finish off by giving all our companies, our partners, involved ABB staff, and everyone else that made SynerLeap a dream come true, a very warm THANK YOU!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Peter, and the SynerLeap team

The SynerLeap team. Photo Jonas Bilberg

The SynerLeap team. Photo Jonas Bilberg

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