Spinning out disruptive technologies

Every year Saab ‘spins-in’ SMEs absorbing their market disrupting defence and security technologies. Its other mission – explored in part two of this article series – is to ‘spin-out’ non-core technologies that shape everyday life.

Recently, Fredrik Nordh, Head of Saab Ventures discussed ‘spinning in’: finding and investing in small, rapidly growing companies that eventually could complement Saab’s core business.

Every one of Venture’s investee companies are ‘incubated’; literally nurtured with growth capital and expertise. Yet, whilst many companies eventually become part of Saab, giving the company a key technology or market offer, some companies and their technologies are ‘spun-out’ back to the market.

 

 “We are a spin-off generator for products, technologies and innovations outside of Saab’s core business. Our role is to identify, invest in and initially drive and develop the projects together with co-investors before divesting the companies,” says Fredrik.

A good example is C3 technologies. Formed by Saab Ventures in 2008, C3 was a 3D mapping company that drew on 40 years of experience at Saab in image processing for target seekers and expertise in navigation systems.

The resulting mapping technology, which worked by generating detailed, realistic 3D models from aerial photographs, proved to be disruptive and well-suited for the consumer market. When Saab spun-out the company in 2011, the divestiture netted over one billion kronor: money which could be put back into other R&D projects and future technology.

“C3 is a good example of R&D spilling-over from defence and security to the commercial sector, and where we could capitalise on our technology and expertise,” concludes Fredrik.

 

Missed the first part of this two part article series? Click here to learn about spinning in and incubating SMEs and entrepreneurs.