Friedrichshafen, Germany / Sunnyvale, California. Californian start-up accelerator Plug and Play has honored ZF with the Corporate Innovation Award in the Mobility category. With the award, the innovation platform recognizes partner companies who show particular commitment to the network and who support start-ups by serving as cooperation partners as well as mentors.
“Through our work with young, innovative companies, we are strengthening our Vision Zero Ecosystem, which aims for a mobile world with zero accidents and zero emissions. At the same time, we are increasing our speed of innovation and securing access to new areas of expertise in networked mobility,” says Malgorzata Wiklinska, head of Digital Ecosystems and Global Innovation Hubs at ZF. “We are therefore quite pleased about the award. It shows that we were able to establish ourselves as an interesting partner for innovative technology start-ups in a very short time.” ZF has been working with Plug and Play since the beginning of 2017 as a “Founding Anchor Partner.” Each year, the Silicon Valley-based start-up accelerator provides support to more than 100 start-up companies, including partnerships with internationally established corporations.
With the Corporate Innovation Award, Plug and Play honors partner companies in eleven categories for their outstanding commitment in the start-up network. “ZF makes it easier for founders to work together through agile decision-making processes and technologically savvy contacts. In addition, the Group offers start-ups a platform to present their projects at a variety of pitch events,” said Saeed Amidi, CEO of Plug and Play, when explaining the decision.
In spring, for example, ZF organized its first Pitch Night in Friedrichshafen for more than 50 international start-ups from the digital start-up scene. This resulted in two pilot projects: The Canadian company Acerta developed a predictive maintenance algorithm for anticipatory maintenance of wind turbine gearboxes. The Munich-based start-up Gefasoft is digitalizing shop floor management at the ZF plant in Saarbrücken. At another pitch event, twelve Indian start-ups presented their projects in Hyderabad in November.
With two new innovation hubs, ZF is also positioning itself geographically in the hot spots of the mobility start-up scene: In August, the Group opened a branch in Silicon Valley. In April 2018, another innovation hub will follow in Hyderabad.