Accelerating Industrial AI development by joining forces with startups

ABB's Industrial AI Accelerator program aims to foster development of artificial intelligence and drive the next level of the industrial revolution.

Seven promising early-stage European startups have been selected to join the ABB Industrial Artificial Intelligence (AI) Accelerator to explore industrial applications of their concepts and speed up their development, as ABB continues to pursue pioneering digital solutions.

As this year’s Hanover Fair was focused on how AI is shaping the transformation of the production and energy industries, some of the startups presented their solutions at ABB’s booth. One the exhibitors was Greenlytics, a startup from Stockholm, Sweden, which provides solutions for energy forecasting and decision making for power traders as well as plant operators. The demo shown integrated Greenlytic’s SolarMind solution into ABB’s OPTIMAX energy management solution to forecast the power generated by photovoltaic plants. The Greenlytics AI-system is continuously updated through inputs such as historic data, location-based plant data, and weather data.

“The conversations with ABB helped us realize the different areas where we can combine our capabilities and create technological synergies”, said Sebastian Haglund El Gaidi, co-founder of Greenlytics. “Collaborating with ABB will help further develop our vision of tomorrow’s increasingly renewable, distributed and smarter grid. We already learned a lot about not only the technology but also the potential market and customer needs – and that is really important for a startup, especially in a B2B context.”

Five startups of ABB’s accelerator program as well as two startups from SynerLeap, ABB’s startup innovation hub located in Sweden, also had the opportunity to pitch their solution at Hanover Fair during a special event. With Sweden being the partner country of this year’s fair, SynerLeap had an active role in the innovation lab at the Swedish pavilion and joined ABB’s pitch event to share successes from its corporate-startup engagement in front of ABB experts, customers, and partners. With the presence of Frank Duggan, President Europe Region and Hans-Georg Krabbe, Country Managing Director of ABB in Germany, the event marked an excellent teaser for the final demo day later in May in Berlin, during which the startups will present the final results of their collaboration projects and one of the startups will be selected as winner by a jury. Amongst the startups who pitched in Hanover was Vathos Robotics, a Dusseldorf, Germany-based startup which deploys computer vision and machine learning for applications in robotics and factory automation.

“The opportunity to discuss our technology here at this pitch event and get exposed to customers is an excellent opportunity to get first-hand feedback”, said Philipp Kuepper, CEO of Vathos Robotics. “Working with ABB as one of the leading robotics companies has significantly helped us to drive our product development roadmap forward and test our solution in a new use case.”

ABB launched its Industrial AI Accelerator program last year to foster development of artificial intelligence (AI) for industry and drive the next level of the industrial revolution. The seven selected startups joined the 4-month program of collaborating in one ABB business unit or function each. This way, the startups will benefit from the company’s deep domain know how and accelerate their growth.

Startups participating in the accelerator use AI components to power their solution, develop enabling technologies to deploy AI, and show great potential in an industrial context. In joining the ABB Industrial AI Accelerator, startups receive coaching and technical support as well as the advantage to win customers, grow and commercialize their solution on a global level.

Next to Greenlytics and Vathos Robotics, the other startups selected to participate in the ABB Industrial AI Accelerator are:

  • Cobrainer (Munich, Germany) applies machine learning to enable intelligent employee mobility for large and medium-sized organizations, offering automatic expertise profiling and intelligent job matching.
  • Dutch Analytics (The Hague, Netherlands) offers a predictive maintenance platform which enables the development and deployment of asset monitoring applications. Customers in Rail, Marine and Manufacturing industries are already benefiting by predicting breakdowns and increasing asset uptime.
  • Intelecy (Oslo, Norway) provides tools to analyze production data from the manufacturing and processing industry using machine learning to prevent breakdowns, predict failures, and improve production processes.
  • OneWatt (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) has designed a non-invasive, non-contact predictive motor health maintenance system using sound. The data is gathered through their embedded acoustic recognition sensors, also called EARS.
  • 8power (Cambridge, UK) produces self-powered wireless sensor solutions for industrial plant applications and machine condition monitoring. The startup uses their patented Vibration Energy Harvester to power their sensors.

“We are excited to have been selected to participate in the ABB Industrial AI accelerator. Collaborating with a technology company like ABB will drive enormous value for Dutch Analytics, “ said Jorick Naber, COO of Dutch Analytics. “We believe the joint project will drive further technology enhancement and help us gain traction with customers, essentially introducing our Predictive Maintenance platform and applications more broadly in different industries.”

The top seven startups were selected out of more than 110 screened startups across 20 countries, in a two-month review process by ABB and AtomLeap. AtomLeap is a leading high-tech startup accelerator and business intelligence provider based in Berlin that is supporting ABB in running the accelerator.

ABB has long embraced partnerships to foster innovation, strongly believing that some of the best ideas are developed by its own strong research and development team when it collaborates with leading minds at universities, research labs, other corporations and startups.

“Today, partnerships and co-creation are fundamental ingredients for research and development of a technology company like ABB, providing customer-focused solutions,” Jan-Henning Fabian, head of Corporate Research in Germany. “To promote collaboration, we have set up the accelerator. Its focus on artificial intelligence in an industrial environment is rare to unique, with use cases spread across several ABB businesses.”

The ABB Industrial AI Accelerator is among several ABB collaborations with startups. Others include next to SynerLeap, also, ABB Technology Ventures (ATV), ABB’s strategic venture capital arm established in 2009. ATV scouts for, partners with and invests in breakthrough technology startups spanning a range of sectors including robotics, drones, industrial IoT, AI/machine learning, cybersecurity and distributed energy.

To learn more about the AI accelerator program, you can visit

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About the author

Victoria Lietha

I am part of ABB Technology Ventures, ABB’s venture capital unit. I have been with ABB for more than 5 years and I am interested in innovation, technology and sustainable development.
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