Springboard is a UK-based start-up incubator that combines investment capital with an intensive 13 week mentor-led accelerator program. The program ends with an investor day where the teams present their propositions to an audience of angel investors and venture capitalists. Springboard provides fantastic office spaces at the Google Campus in London and ideaSpace in Cambridge and seeds capital – over $150k of free services. More important is the Springboard network of over 100 experienced entrepreneurs and investors throughout the IoT program plus access to a wider network of mentors and partners.
The Internet of Things is the next internet wave. In the near future, more and more devices and systems will be capable of sending and receiving data automatically via the internet. This will give rise to completely new services, which will change peoples’ everyday lives. When referring to this development, we speak of the Internet of Things & Services. Today, we can only guess what changes this new technology will produce, just as we could only speculate concerning the impact of the worldwide web when it was launched, or how mobile phones changed our lives when they began to be extensively used in the 1990s. In 2015, Bosch Software Innovations expects that more than six billions of devices and systems will be able to exchange data independently. Elevators and air-conditioning systems, for example, will communicate via the web with their maintenance centers, which will then coordinate repairs. Cars will communicate with traffic guidance systems to provide an up-to-the-minute overview of the traffic situation, and containers will be able to transmit their position in real time to a logistics center, which will then automatically direct a truck to the pick-up point and make warehouse space available.
Bosch has already come up with some initial practical applications in connection with the Internet of Things. In telehealth, the vital data of thousands of patients are automatically recorded and evaluated every day. Medical personnel only have to take action if the data reveal anomalies. At the company’s Homburg plant, crates are equipped with RFID transmitters, allowing materials flows in production to be tracked in real time. In Singapore, Bosch is operating a complete networked eMobility system for electric vehicles. It directs drivers to the nearest vacant charge spot and takes care of billing procedures with a flat fee price model.
So why is Bosch joining a program for start-ups? Here I would like to re-quote one of my last interviews: “The Internet of Things is a place where technology and business meet, leading to the creation of new disruptive business models.” We believe that these business models will not be developed and established in isolation, rather in partnerships. Therefore, we already established for example a lab for business models in IoT at the University of St. Gallen (HSG), and the Springboards IoT program is another piece of partnership building in the IoT space. We are interested in the technology and business ideas of Springboard supported companies. We are also curious about the Springboard incubator process itself, as we might take some of the lessons learned back to our own company.
Bosch is supporting Springboard IoT with a cross-functional team from around the world:
- Christopher Martin, Senior Expert for IoT at Bosch Research and Technology Center based in Pittsburgh and Palo Alto (USA) will be the on-site mentor.
- Claus Schmidt, Executive Vice President Robert Bosch Venture Capital (Germany) supports from his broad investor experience in the high-tech start-up space.
- Finally, it is me, Stefan Ferber, Director Communities & Partner Networks at Bosch Software Innovations (Germany) bringing in my network of IoT specialists within Bosch and around the world.
There are only a few days left to apply for a Springboard IoT sponsorship. Are you ready to join?