New year, new IndX process and new hopes and expectations from the partner companies of IndX. We spoke to Hans Larsson, Director Strategic Innovation, and Fredrik Wigh, Strategic Innovation Program Manager at Toyota Material Handling, about their thoughts and ambitions for this year.
– We are excited to meet the new year of IndX and hope that the updated process will give even more and better opportunities for us to meet startups with interesting solutions, says Hans.
The new process will, amongst other things, include quarterly Pitch Day’s, the IndX Startup Bank and three brand new expert teams with members from each of the partner companies (Siemens Energy, Väderstad, Saab and Toyota Material Handling). Both Hans and Fredrik agree that in IndX 2022 the competition between startups will probably be less prominent, since the applications will be reviewed each month instead of just once a year. Meaning that it will probably be easier to get your message across to the partner companies.
– We believe that this new concept will make it possible for us to give a better focus to each application and entertain more startup contacts this year than the previous ones, says Hans.
– It also makes it possible for us to better match the expertise of the startup with the corresponding expertise in-house, says Fredrik. But then he adds:
– We kind of look at IndX as a major Proof of Concept in itself, where the process is constantly evolving in the search for the best way forward.
The green transformation is a top priority
The focus areas from previous years, Autonomy, Connectivity and Sustainability, are still standing in 2022 and though Toyota Material Handling are especially interested in sustainability, regarding both energy and staff.
– The transformation to green energy is a major question for us. How can we optimize our use of energy and use as much of the both cheap and green energy as possible, explains Hans.
The other important area they want to highlight is health and safety for the people handling and operating around the forklift trucks.
– Safety solutions within logistics is a top priority for both us and our customers. Therefore, object detection, which makes it possible for the forklift trucks to avoid creating dangerous situations for humans, is an area of great interest to us. But also machine intent, which means that it is easier for humans to understand and predict what the forklift truck is planning on doing next, says Fredrik.
Looking back is part of moving forward
Another part that has been added to the IndX process is the IndX Startup Bank, where all applications from previous and upcoming years will be saved. The partner companies will re-review the old applications once a year.
– During the past two years of IndX we have learned a lot about the current startup scene and how we can work to find good matches. We believe that by taking time to look back and reflect over old applications we will find some of the golden nuggets that we might have missed before. Our needs have also changed and an application that was irrelevant two years ago might be on the top of our list today, says Fredrik.
– Since we, during 2020 and 2021, have had a limit of inviting only 10 startups to pitch, we have also been forced to prioritize among the applications, even though we have seen potential and found interest in more than 10, adds Hans.
The applications, both old and new, will also be reviewed by competence teams, consisting of groups of experts from each partner company.
– We are excited to involve even more of our colleagues into IndX. The more eyes and perspectives on an application the better, says Fredrik.
– And also startups are usually very niched, so by matching their competence with the corresponding competence in house we believe that we will be able to fit their solutions into our needs in a more precise and effective way, says Hans.
IndX can’t be copied
Both Fredrik and Hans emphasize how IndX truly can have a major impact on the development of a startup.
– We are connected to every major logistics company in Europe. If you start working with us you will not only be working with the largest logistics company in Europe, but with all our customers. A network like ours will take a startup many years to build up, says Hans.
– We are also very open to involving startups in real customer cases. If we see that applications from IndX match the needs of any of our existing customers we give the startup an opportunity to not only work with us but with a major customer, adds Fredrik.
– And IndX is such a unique combination of partners. We have similar challenges to the other partner companies, but we all see them from different perspectives. Since we aren’t in competition it is easy for us to share experiences and solutions between us. This makes IndX totally unique and something that can’t be copied.
IndX is a unique collaboration between four of the largest global industrial companies in East Sweden. Saab, Siemens Energy, Toyota Material Handling, and Väderstad partner with Linköping Science Park in the search for new innovative ideas and startups within emerging technologies. The application to IndX 2022 is open, apply here!