With a convincing pitch of a new promising business innovation, the Brazilian Bosch internal founders of Bosch Fluid Energy Monitoring (BFM) successfully prevailed against other applicants in the final funding conference of 2021. As a result, the product team secured funding from grow platform, making them an official part of the lean start-up portfolio at the start of the new year 2022. By entering the home of Bosch intrapreneurs, the team will now be able to leverage the platform's unique and lean incubation structures and international expansion strategies, simplifying global market entry and significantly boosting sales.
"We have been looking for something like this for several months."
95% of all households in Brazil depend on the supply of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG). Brazilian people mainly use it for cooking or as a heating fuel and must exchange the cylinder approximately 6 times a year. However, there is no smart way to measure when the LPG runs out, which causes stress for the end users. In addition, the long distribution chains make it difficult for LPG distributors to stay in contact with households, which makes it especially difficult to retain customers and thus increase sales.
Questioning the status quo can lead to great business innovations. "There is nothing you can't do", says Robson Gama, the business owner of Bosch Fluid Energy Monitoring. When he was listening to the results from a workshop of another business unit, he had exactly this phrase in his mind. His colleagues were thinking about using pressure sensors to measure the level of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) cylinders. However, they didn’t know neither if this idea would work nor if there was a market willing to pay for the solution.
At the same time, the Bosch unit of Robson and his colleague Patricia Rizzo was searching for business partners in a Corporate Venture Building program. They were already in touch with one of the biggest LPG distributors in Brazil, with the motivation to invent a solution for a real customer problem. Accordingly, Patricia and Robson exchanged with the people in charge of the innovation and digitalization field at that particular LPG distributor. In agreement with the colleagues from the business unit at Bosch, they pitched the idea of the pressure sensor that could measure the level of a gas cylinder to change it before it runs out. The company's innovation manager responded accordingly: “We have been looking for something like this for several months now, and would buy 1.000 units to test.” This was the beginning of the journey of Bosch Fluid Energy Monitoring.
Eliminating uncertainty and ensuring predictability with intelligent fluid energy monitoring, invented for life
Bosch Fluid Energy Monitoring is an intelligent, cloud-based solution that enables direct sales, logistic optimization, and subscription sales model for the LPG distributors, empowering them to disrupt the LPG chain. Thereby, households (the end users) move from hefty upfront payments and insecurity of supply to a secured pay-as-you-go model and guaranteed availability of heating and cooking. Moreover, BFM enables direct sales from LPG distributers to end users so costs can be reduced and also customer loyalty can be increased. By partnering with a big LPG distributer, they want to grow fast and bring together a huge base of end users.
The most important skill to develop is resilience
Our life is always like a roller coaster, Robson says. To operate in a start-up means to face a lot of uncertainty and constantly adapt to a fast-changing environment. The business owner of Bosch Fluid Energy Monitoring has already failed four internal start-ups and needed to reinvent himself. Nevertheless, with each of these failures he was able to strengthen his professional skills and could profit from these important experiences. Also, for his colleague Patricia, the key to success is resilience. “We need to adapt by failing fast and learning and adjusting even faster."
The journey of Bosch Fluid Energy Monitoring was marked by a continuous process of evaluating and adapting. The team had to be in a constant exchange with its relevant market as well as with its business partners. Through various workshops, meetings, and extensive fieldwork, the team was able to develop the most suitable business innovation with the highest value for LPG distributors and end users.
Business Owner of Bosch Fluid Energy Monitoring, located in Campinas, Brazil
Robson has been working at Bosch since 2006, starting as an intern in the Powertrain Solutions unit. He studied Electric Engineering and acquired a lot of technical experience while working for ten years in that specific field. However, he comprehended that his profile was not that of an expert but more that of a generalist with a T-shape profile. Hence, he has pivoted his career to the business area where he has worked for five years. During this innovation journey, he failed four internal start-ups (eyeField, eyeSoil, EDGreenhouse, eyeMilk) which has been vital to mature his vision as an intrapreneur: always focusing on the market and learning to understand customer needs and pain points to generate real value.
Benefiting from incubation with lean processes, customized support, and global market access
To accelerate and finally incubate their business in a more secure environment, Patricia and Robson decided to join grow platform. They wanted to benefit from grow's capacity to rapidly scale solutions from local to global markets. The synergy between the innovation hubs in other regions enables them to quickly validate their business in different locations and to create strong go-to-market strategies to speed up sales and revenue growth. In addition to that, they see great advantages in being on a platform with experts in strategic areas, such as engineering, finance and controlling, marketing, quality management and human resources, who can support every step of their start-up journey.
“The Bosch slogan ‘Invented for Life’ has always made a lot of sense to me. In our business, this can be possible not only in Brazil but all over the world, enabling my exponential professional growth together with the business”, Robson says. Not only the Brazilian market is relevant for the new grow platform portfolio team. In the future, the start-up wants to expand in other countries with a high use of LPG gas, e.g., India, Mexico, or Indonesia.
The goal of Bosch Fluid Energy Monitoring is to become the global leader in pay-as-you-go solutions for cooking and heating. To improve people’s live by shaping the future with new technologies and smart solutions - that is the mission of Patricia and Robson of Bosch Fluid Energy Monitoring.
Business Developer of Bosch Fluid Energy Monitoring, located in Campinas, Brazil
Patrícia studied Business Administration in Brazil and joined Bosch in 2013 as a working student at the corporate IT department. For the following six years, Patricia was working with the board of Bosch Latin America. Her first contact with innovation and business development was back in 2019. At that time, she had the chance to accelerate a business model, along with the Latin American team of grow platform, which ended up being invalidated. Later that same year, she started prospecting partners for a Corporate Venture Building Partnership program and became one of the founders of Bosch Fluid Energy Monitoring. She has been developing the business since its founding and officially migrated to grow platform in October 2021.