News: Focus will be on artificial intelligence and decentralised electrification.
Siemens will invest €1bn over the next five years in a new startups unit focusing on areas like artificial intelligence and decentralised electrification.
Effective 1 October 2016, the company will establish a separate unit to speed up the development of new technologies.
At the unit, dubbed next47, the company will pool its existing startup activities.
The unit will be open to employees, external startups and established companies if they seek to pursue business ideas in fields that are strategic to Siemens’ future.
The new unit will initially be headed by Siemens’ chief technology officer Siegfried Russwurm. It will have offices in Shanghai, Munich and Berkeley.
The first project at next47 will be with Airbus and will involve electrically powered planes.
The two companies intend to demonstrate by 2020 the technical feasibility of hybrid/electric propulsion systems for small planes to medium-sized passenger aircraft.
Other important innovation fields will include artificial intelligence, autonomous machines, decentralised electrification and networked mobility, blockchain applications for the secure transfer of data in industry and energy trading.
Siemens president and CEO Joe Kaeser said: "Siemens itself was a startup in 1847 – founded in a rear courtyard in Berlin.
"With next47, we’re living up to our company founder’s ideals and creating an important basis for fostering innovation as we continue Siemens’ development."
Siemens’ collaboration with startups dates back to 1990s. In the last 20 years, the company invested over €800m in nearly 180 startups.
The German firm is in contact with more than 1,000 startups per year, launches about 20 cooperative ventures a year. Siemns has also established over 12 startups of its own.