In Robots Podcast #148, Per Sjöborg speaks with Jan Westerhues, Investment Partner with Robert Bosch Venture Capital in Frankfurt, Germany, where he is responsible for robotic investments. Robert Bosch began as an automotive parts firm, but has branched out into other businesses and now has an R&D staff of 15,000 persons. The company's venture capital operation is not an angel investor, and only ever takes a minority position in the companies in which it invests, but, when approached by a company that has already completed the initial phases of identifying a market and defining a product, and has a prototype and a business plan, Westerhues will locate someone within Bosch's R&D staff with the competence to evaluate the prototype, whether it holds the potential to deliver what the company claims for it, and to ‘talk tech’ with the company's own designers and engineers. The ideal situation for Bosch is that in which their own industrial strength can be brought to bear, perhaps supplying parts for the products of the companies in which they invest, but this is not a requirement.
(I listened to this episode five or six times in preparation for this post, and suggest that anyone interested in venture capital funding do likewise.)
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