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Bosch invests in Chicago accelerator in effort to build out Internet of Things start-up ecosystem

By David Schwartz
Published: May 16th, 2017

The Chicago Connectory, a new 19,000 sq. ft. space on the 5th floor of the Merchandise Mart, is the first co-working space entirely devoted to Internet of Things start-ups and tech in Chicago. It was founded in partnership between tech hub 1871 and German technology company Robert Bosch, which is funding the space in hopes of getting ingrained in the growing IoT ecosystem in Chicago.

For the start-ups that are beginning to occupy the space, they operate out of the only central hub for IoT resources and get the chance to rub shoulders with a potential big name customer. For Bosch, it means getting first look at the developing technologies with an eye toward potential licensing and acquisition targets.

Bosch, a global engineering and electronics company that spans industries from automotive to appliances, has been hard at work in the last couple of years trying to create paths to early-stage innovations. They’ve worked with startups through 1871 and the Plug-and-Play accelerator in Palo Alto, and they host several accelerators around the world.

Now they’re making an extra push in integrating IoT technologies across their company – what they call “3-S” for sensors, software and services. “We want to build a place for co-creation with startups, university, and corporate partners for our IoT environment,” said Dennis Boecker, global IT innovation lead at Bosch.

While the Connectory centers around a flexible co-working space, it also includes a maker space with equipment for small prototyping (featuring Bosch power tools and 3D printers). Bosch will also offer technical resources, including a cross-domain development kit and sensors for IoT development. Mentorships will be provided on industry-specific topics such as manufacturing, software engineering, and commercialization. In addition, faculty from the School of the Art Institute, Northwestern University and DePaul University will have a presence in the space.

The short term goal for the company is to get their teams working side-by-side with start-ups, but Boecker also noted the possibility of Bosch entering partnerships, licensing and even acquiring IoT start-ups.

Source: Chicago Inno

Posted under: Industry-Sponsored Research Week

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