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Tricorn breeders: a chat with our Global Project Pipeline Team

Take one look inside grow platform and you’ll see a range of start-ups hard at work on groundbreaking projects. But how does this high potential take flight? Who opens the door to the Home of Bosch Intrapreneurs?


The Global Project Pipeline Team is responsible for the attraction, validation and selection of new innovation projects within the Bosch Group. From first contact all the way to incubation, the team works closely with applicants by examining business models, international markets, people dynamics and so much more. The goal is to create the next Bosch tricorn, our unicorn definition with three key features: potential of 1bn EUR in company value, 1bn EUR in revenue, and defined figures in free cash flow.

If you have the start-up mentality and potential, this is the perfect chance to hear from the Global Project Pipeline Team – Daniel Lange (based in USA), Tong Bu (based in Japan), Guilherme Rocamora (based in Germany), and Simon Iraya (based in Kenya).

Seeing potential from all sides

True to its name, the team is present around the world in search of the next big innovation project within Bosch. Each member brings diverse perspectives and skills, yet they are united by the goal to foster potential start-ups for incubation at grow platform.

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

Seeing potential from all sides

We’re using diverse perspectives to understand if an applicant is a good fit for grow platform’s strategy and makes sense in our portfolio as a sponsor. It’s also very important that this is the right place for the applicant.

Daniel Lange, Head of Attraction & Validation

Phase 1: Attract

The Global Project Pipeline Team doesn’t wait for applications to arrive in their inbox. Instead, they actively hunt for new applicants, looking everywhere and talking to everyone.

Tong explains, “We are collaborating with international grow platform hub leads who are always searching for potential topics. Beyond that, there are a lot of innovation programs which focus on the early stages of ideation and incubation. We are very actively interacting with these programs that can direct their success stories to come to our team.”

Two team members

Networking is also a fruitful route, and the team is using Bosch’s expert network and leveraging the support of colleagues, in particular within the subsidiary Robert Bosch Venture Capital. By reaching out to experts and partners around the world, the Global Project Pipeline Team can gain new knowledge about market and customers, which opens the door to possible start-ups and topics to target.

Simon also gives potential applicants the green light to be proactive: “Reach out to our regional contact. Tell them about your project and it will get to us.” If you have an innovation with high potential, don’t wait. The Global Project Pipeline Team is excited and ready to meet with budding start-ups and track each one’s progress, even before a formal application begins.

"It’s a great opportunity and responsibility to invest your capacity and think outside the box in order to work on and solve real problems."
Simon Iraya

More autonomy, greater resources


When talking to start-ups, the Global Project Pipeline Team can clearly see their passion and inventiveness. But the challenges are also quite evident – and that’s where the team comes in to help. Daniel says, “They are dreaming about something that can go beyond the boundaries of a business unit. They are working for a couple of years and have a lot of challenges with their existing organization and boundaries. It’s what we call the innovator’s dilemma of our business areas.”

Whether a lack of resources, knowledge or autonomy, these roadblocks cause start-ups to limit the scope of their projects or completely stop them.

That’s why the Global Project Pipeline Team is always on the hunt for special projects – grow platform is the ideal place to strengthen digital business model projects and launch innovation. 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.

Global from the get-go

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 Project Pipeline Team and not only a regional manager.

Many start-ups are highly interested in the international aspect and are ready for the chance to expand beyond their region. It's very rare that they currently have access to the right people and resources in their country, 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.


Matchmaking: finding the right fit

When grow platform is a good fit for everyone involved, the journey continues with virtual chats, the creation of a tentative timeline and completion of the application.

Guilherme explains the three parts of the application. First, it’s all about the impact. Does it have tricorn 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 Project Pipeline Team then dives deeper and deeper into each start-up – researching markets, examining figures, getting to know teams, exploring scalability, calling experts, and so much more. It’s time to meticulously validate the project and the team.

Phase 2: Validate

Like all successful units, the Global Project Pipeline Team continues to evolve. Previously, the team relied on a straightforward “Go or No-Go” approach when deciding on applicants. But they have learned that the validation period is about more than just confirming a project’s viability – it’s also about actively grooming the team and its innovative business model. According to Guilherme, “We are willing to give time in the validation period where the start-ups can take input from us to close gap areas.”

Simon adds, “We're working much closer with teams, even before they apply. We're working with them to see where the gaps are. How can we help you become mature for grow platform, the Bosch incubator? Where can we support great talent and projects earlier in the pipeline?”

Two critical factors: scalability and people

In validating projects and assisting candidates, the Global Project Pipeline Team covers a range of topics, but two are critically important: scalability and team dynamics. If scalability is difficult to attain, then the return on investment might not be worthwhile for Bosch. And if team dynamics are not solid and positive, then the project might never get off the ground.

More than a buzzword, 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 – either they are looking too small or have not thought about it globally – and they are trying to solve a problem within only their region.

Two team members

“I would say that proper scalable business models are not as many so far. And that's something that we would love to make more people more aware about. We challenge them with the questions, ‘Can this become a billion Euro company? Can we take this global?’” 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 this probably in a three, four or five months.”

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 grow platform make sense for them as people? Does the team work well together? Are they unified in their vision? Is the right leadership in place? It’s important to remember: before grow platform can fund the right projects, they have to find the right people.

The value of time

When it comes to the expectations of future applicants, it’s important to note that there is standard framework in place, but much of the process is tailored to each candidate and their project. The Global Project Pipeline Team strives to develop a strong rapport with each candidate to set a realistic timeline. Because if there is massive potential, the team will find a way to make it happen.

Daniel adds, “We do our best to make something that works for the candidate and also 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 a platform to help start-ups accelerate. And projects can start anywhere at any time."
Tong Bu

Instead of being pushed by pressure, the Global Project Pipeline Team is driven by curiosity. Flexible timelines, regular checkpoints and open communication ensure continuous progress and provide every applicant with ample time to submit all necessary documents. Simon provides an example that shines the light on this positive structure: “If it’s January and we say you have to apply by March, you're actually going to find that people rushed very quickly to make it for the application and a lot of gaps will be there because they rushed towards the end.”

Three team members

In the past, the Global Project Pipeline Team stuck more closely to strict deadlines but discovered the lack of maturity for projects. That, of course, negatively impacted the onboarding of new start-ups into grow platform. Now candidates can inform the team on their status and then work together along the journey, hitting all the critical spots for application and maturity.

"The pressure needs to be set by the applicants themselves."
Simon Iraya

Phase 3: Select

From the first contact with a candidate all the way to guiding them over several months, the Global Project Pipeline Team collects all the insights and data necessary. When it comes to selection, the team gives its thorough recommendations to the management team. Based on all the analysis provided by Daniel, Tong, Guilherme, and Simon, it is then time for management to make the decision to invest or not invest.

If it’s a “Yes”, then a start-up receives the funding, autonomy and support of grow platform. If it’s a “No”, then the start-up will receive clear indication on why they are not a fit. But for many, a rejection is not the end of the road. It all comes down to potential – and when the Global Project Pipeline Team sees exciting potential, they keep the door open for start-ups to reapply. “If we want the start-up to reapply after working on the topic again with a clear indication of the gap areas and what is expected, they can always come back to us.”


Are you next?

If you are running a visionary Bosch innovation project and you are looking for greater autonomy, funding and support, then reach out to Daniel Lange, Head of Attraction & Validation ( Get ready for the exciting ride toward grow platform – full of lively communication, deep understanding and shared visions of the future.