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“Something many startups are lacking”

The goal of MobilityXlab is to provide startups a fast track into collaboration with our partner companies. One of those partner companies is Zenuity and during the past couple of years they have participated in several exciting collaborations within the walls of MobilityXlab. We had the luck to sit down with Benny Nilsson, Head of Emerging Technologies and talk to him about Zenuity’s collaboration with Annotell and what he has learned throughout these years about what great collaborations actually require from startups as well as big corporations.

Why MobilityXlab?

Zenuity is one of MobilityXlab’s six partner companies and has been a part of the community since the very beginning. According to Benny, their motivation to participate revolves around potentially significant improvements to existing features for Zenuity.

-        We always want to build our own knowledge and IP. But sometimes we need specific tools or features to pursue our development and the situation might make it more interesting to purchase that rather than develop it ourselves. Other than that we’re also willing to look at how other companies can benefit our core products.

For MobilityXlab’s partner companies the collaboration doesn’t just involve startups but also the other partner companies.

-       You could say that our goals with being a part of MobilityXlab are split in two. One part is being able to use it as a platform to be more visible and connect effectively with startup companies to collaborate with. The second part is the contact and collaboration with the other partners. MobilityXlab creates a space where the threshold for that kind of collaboration is lowered.

 

The start of a fruitful partnership

It was through MobilityXlab that Zenuity met Annotell and their collaboration ended up being really successful.

-       A big part of the development we’re doing is something called perception. Take a self-driving car, for example. At the very beginning, before anything else it’s about understanding the surroundings. For example, where is the road, where are the other vehicles and where are the vulnerable road users? All of that needs to be put into that car in a reliable way. That is called perception. Which in turn is enabled by annotations, which Annotell now helps us with.

But the collaboration between Zenuity and Annotell hasn’t just been fruitful for Zenuity. It has led to a lot of opportunities and opened doors for Annotell.

-       Being a part of MobilityXlab enabled for Annotell to have access to the a great office space next to their customers. We sort of became their lead user and our collaboration resulted in several collaborations between Annotell and other partner companies.

 

What it takes to collaborate

As mentioned Benny and his colleagues have met and collaborated with several startups. Coming from the corporate side there are somethings Benny feels strongly about.  

-       Everything ends up in a negotiation and in the end it needs to become something good for both parties. As a big corporation you can be a tough negotiator but if you win by pressing down the price to the point that the startup doesn't survive, it’s not a win, for anyone. The most beneficial ending for all parties is a sustainable relationship.

Benny has also noticed patterns among the startups’ preparation before entering MobilityXlab or approaching big corporations in general.

-       A well-defined value proposition is something that many startups are lacking. They haven’t thought enough about their business model. And as a startup who wants to enter the automotive industry you also have to think about the functional safety demands. In this industry you can’t launch something and fix it later. When it comes out it has to work perfectly.

 

If you’re curious about the benefits of MobilityXlab you can read more about it here. Or just sign up for our newsletter and get all the info you need straight into your inbox.