Siemens plans to launch a new unit October 1 that will invest more than $1.1 billion over five years in decentralized electricity startups and other fledgling disruptive technology companies.
Called next47, the unit will focus on microgrids, electrified flight, blockchain applications for energy trading, networked mobility, artificial intelligence and other forward looking fields.
The new unit will work worldwide from offices in Berkeley, Shanghai and Munich.
Siemens sees the hot spots for decentralized electricity startups as the United States, South Korea and Germany. About 200 ventured-backed start-ups are working in the field, according to the company.
The new unit will focus particularly on energy-trading platforms and services for producers and consumers; swarm platforms used to store and distribute renewable energy; energy efficiency; battery and storage; power-to-gas tech; and smart grid software.
Siegfried Russwurm, Siemens chief technology officer, will head the next47 on an acting basis.
“next47 will provide the freedom to experiment and grow – without the organizational restrictions of a large company. Our new unit will rigorously pursue Siemens’ strategy and enable us to tap into disruptive ideas in our core areas of electrification, automation and digitalization,” said Russwurm.
Based an agreement Siemens struck with Airbus in April 2016, next47 will initially work on electrification of aviation. The two companies plan to show the technical feasibility of hybrid/electric propulsion systems for small planes to medium-sized passenger aircraft.
Available for free download courtesy of Siemens: “How Microgrids Can Achieve Maximum Return on Investment (ROI): The Role of the Advanced Microgrid Controller.“
Siemens has been collaborating with startups since the late 1990s. In the past 20 years, the company has invested more than $891 million in about 180 startups. The company says it is in contact with more than 1,000 startups a year and launches around 20 cooperative ventures annually. Siemens also has founded more than a dozen startups of its own.
The name of the new unit plays on the date Siemens was formed
“Siemens itself was a startup in 1847 – founded in a rear courtyard in Berlin,” said Joe Kaeser, president and CEO of Siemens AG. “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.”
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