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Identifying Tricorns: A Chat with Our Attract & Validate Department

Identifying Tricorns: A Chat with Our Attract & Validate Department

The Global Attract & Validate department of grow platform is responsible for identifying, analyzing, and selecting internal innovation projects within the Bosch Group. From the initial contact to incubation, the team works closely with applicants through examining business models, international markets, people dynamics and so much more. The goal: Enabling new transformational innovations for Bosch – funded and scaled at Bosch’s global incubator grow platform.

Unfolding potential and reducing biases with diverse perspectives

True to its name, the team is present around the world in search of the next big innovation project within Bosch. One of the team's premises is to analyze the applicants and potential tricorn projects from all angles. With respect to externally recognized unicorn definitions, we understand tricorn potential as a business with a respective company valuation, revenue potential, and double digits in net cash flow ten years after their market launch.

To make this happen, each member of the team has experience in different areas, backgrounds and brings knowledge from the regions they are allocated. The team also is continuously collaborating cross-functionally with other departments at grow platform and Bosch to make sure that the validation of start-ups is carried out successfully.Their differences are united by the passion for innovation and for working towards one major goal: Leveraging and expanding high-potential internal innovation projects into successful and highly profitable businesses for Bosch.


Everyone is actively raising their voices when analyzing a new applicant, and diverse viewpoints are vital to truly finding and nurturing potential. Daniel says, “We benefit a lot from debate. One mission that we have is to reduce biases. If you have just one expert evaluating everything from one perspective, it's very risky because you have very limited viewpoints.” Open communication enables the team to attract, validate and select high-potential start-ups with scalable and financially viable business models.

We leverage diverse perspectives to determine if an applicant aligns with grow platform’s strategy and fit into our portfolio. It’s also very important that this is the right place for the applicant.

– Daniel Lange, Head of Attraction & Validation

Solving the Innovator's Dilemma with great resources and empowerment

When talking to start-ups, the team can clearly see their passion and inventiveness. But the challenges are also quite evident – and that is where the team comes into support. Daniel says, “They are dreaming about something that can go beyond the boundaries of a business unit. Some of them have been working for a couple of years and have encountered a lot of challenges with their existing organization and boundaries. It’s what we call the innovator’s dilemma.”

Whether it is a lack of resources, knowledge or autonomy, these roadblocks cause start-ups to limit the scope of their projects or completely stop them. That is why the Attract & Validate Team is always on the hunt for special projects – grow platform is the ideal place to strengthen digital business model projects and launch innovations. Daniel explains, “When they look at grow platform, they see the possibility that they can truly focus on what matters and have access to the right resources.” When many projects feel backed up against a wall, grow platform is there to open a door.

two people dicussing in front of a working laptop

Three phases to identify tricorns

The team collaborates with grow platform hubs around the world to understand the demand in each region and the potential topics and projects. Furthermore, the innovation landscape at Bosch is very large. There are innovation programs that focus on early stages of ideation and incubation. “We are actively interacting to foster internal partnerships with other innovation programs that can direct their projects to our team.” Says Guilherme. He adds “Bosch is a huge company that is all over the world. There is a great amount of innovative ideas and projects with high potential. We cannot miss the chance to leverage and scale the entire potential to increase the company's added value and revenue.”

Networking plays a crucial role, and the team is using Bosch’s expert network and leveraging the support of colleagues, such as the subsidiary Robert Bosch Venture Capital and Bosch Corporate Research. By reaching out to experts and partners around the world, the Team gains market and customer insight, which opens the door to potential start-ups and targeted topics.

Validating projects covers a range of topics, but two are critically important: scalability and team dynamics. If scalability is difficult to achieve, the return on investment may not be worthwhile for Bosch. If team dynamics are not solid and positive, then the project may not launch successfully. Scalability involves a firm understanding of the problem at hand and the innovative solution being developed. Many candidates have not fully researched their target market and are only trying to solve a problem within their region, not considering global opportunities.

“It is rare to find business models that are designed to be scalable, that is, they are designed to expand to a global market without a proportionate increase in development and operating costs. We therefore often challenge the intrapreneurs we interact with to envision building a billion Euro business that serves a global market” explains Simon.

If scalability is unclear for the candidates, grow platform provides enough time for them to drill down and fully explore their potential reach. Tong says, “If we are not sure if they can scale immediately – maybe it is a little asset heavy or it is unclear how the transfer will be across borders – they can quickly validate these aspects over a period of three, four or five months.”

From the first contact with a candidate all the way to guiding them over several months, the Global Attract & Validate Team collects all the insights and data necessary. When it comes to selection, the team gives its thorough recommendations to the portfolio owner, the grow platform Managing Directors. Based on all the analysis provided by Daniel, Tong, Guilherme, and Simon, it is then up to Managing Directors to make the decision to allocate funding.

If it is a “Yes”, then a start-up receives financial resources, autonomy, and support of grow platform. If it is a “No,” then the start-up will receive clear indication on why they are not a fit. For many, rejection is not the end of the road. It all comes down to potential – and when the Global Attract & Validate Team sees exciting potential, they keep the door open for start-ups to reapply.

Global reach and ambition

An international mindset is at the core of grow platform, as projects must have the ability to scale to markets and customers around the world. In fact, the stage is set from the beginning. One of the first meetings is with the Global Attract & Validate Team and not only a regional manager.

two people discussing and showing something an a flipchart

Many start-ups are highly interested in the international aspect and are ready for the chance to expand beyond their region. It is very rare that they currently have access to the right people and resources in other countries, which makes the global reach of grow platform so attractive.

On the other hand, some candidates are immediately surprised by the initial global perspective. But the surprise quickly turns to gratitude, as candidates use insights coming from all over the world – across America, EMEA and Asia-Pacific – to envision how their innovation could scale to markets around the world.

Data driven but always with the people at the center

When there is a clear fit between grow platform and the applicant, the journey continues with virtual or on-site chats, the creation of a tentative timeline and completion of the application.

Tong explains the application. “First, it’s all about the impact. Does it have the right potential? Second, it’s all about understanding team dynamics, the business plan, and the vision for the future. Third, it’s all about numbers with a look into current revenues, projections, and costs.”

The Global Attract & Validate Team then dives deeper into each start-up – researching markets, getting to know the team culture, exploring scalability and consulting experts. It is time to meticulously validate the project and the team.

three people sitting and talking

While the team examines the technological side of everything – big innovation hypothesis, long-term scalability, and financial growth – they also look very closely at the human side. Does the team work well together? Are they unified in their vision and purpose? Is the right leadership in place? It is important to remember before grow platform can fund the right projects, they must find the right people.

A customized process with applications opens all year round

It is important to note that there is a standard framework in place, but much of the process is tailored to each candidate and their project. The Global Attract & Validate Team strives to develop a strong connection with each candidate to set a realistic timeline. If there is massive potential, the team will find a way to make it happen.

Daniel says “We do our best to make something that works for the candidate and for us. We don't want to rush it too much. We think it's important that we invest enough time to really understand if there is a fit for grow platform and a fit for the applicant.” In the end, potential always triumphs over the pressure to meet a specific date.

We are your door openers to enable new transformational innovations for Bosch. The projects can start anywhere at any time. We take up the pace provided by the applicants.

– Tong Bu

Are You Next?

If you are running a visionary Bosch innovation project and seeking greater autonomy, funding, and support, reach out to your regional focal point. Get ready for the exciting ride to join grow platform – full of vibrant communication, deep understanding, and shared visions of the future.

Our team is looking forward to getting to know you and your project. Together, we can build the next big business innovations for Bosch.

Regional focal points

Daniel lange

Daniel lange

Head of Global Attract & Validate, based in Farmington Hills, MI, United States
  • • Regional Responsibility: America
  • •
Guilherme Rocamora

Guilherme Rocamora

Start-up Admissions Manager, based in Ludwigsburg, Germany
  • • Regional Responsibility: Europe & Middle East
  • •
Tong Bu

Tong Bu

Innovation Manager, based in Tokyo, Japan
  • • Regional Responsibility: China, ASEAN region, Japan
  • •
Simon Iraya

Simon Iraya

Innovation Manager, based in Nairobi, Kenya
  • • Regional Responsibility: India, Africa
  • •