UBER IS THE WORLD’S largest taxi com­pany, yet it doesn’t own a sin­gle taxi. Airbnb is the largest ho­tel chain with­out own­ing any ho­tels. New busi­ness mod­els cou­pled with emerg­ing tech­nolo­gies and fresh think­ing have dis­rupted stal­warts of the au­to­mo­tive, hos­pi­tal­ity and re­tail in­dus­tries long con­sid­ered too dif­fi­cult to dis­rupt. Is the aero­space and de­fence in­dus­try next in line for a sim­i­lar dis­rup­tion?

Yes, and as an in­no­va­tor with a le­gacy of over 100 years of tech­no­log­i­cal break­throughs in aero­space, Boe­ing sees the need to em­brace this next wave of dis­rup­tion — glob­ally! With more than $3 bil­lion in­vested an­nu­ally in re­search and de­vel­op­ment, Boe­ing is driv­ing in­no­va­tion that will trans­form the in­dus­try as we know it.

By lever­ag­ing the power of the world’s largest aero­space com­pany, Boe­ing HorizonX ap­plies its mo­men­tum to new busi­ness ven­tures to un­lock the next gen­er­a­tion of game-chang­ing ideas, prod­ucts, and mar­kets. From in­vest­ment cap­i­tal to tech­nol­ogy com­mer­cial­iza­tion and mar­ket ac­cess, Boe­ing HorizonX turns new ideas and busi­nesses into re­al­ity. Since its in­cep­tion, Boe­ing HorizonX Ven­tures has in­vested in 16 early-stage com­pa­nies de­vel­op­ing tech­nolo­gies with po­ten­tial aero­space, ser­vices and man­u­fac­tur­ing ap­pli­ca­tions. IN­NO­VA­TION IN IN­DIA. In­dia is home to the world’s third largest startup ecosys­tem,which is a con­crete tes­ta­ment to the in­her­ent in­no­va­tion and the en­trepreneurial streak that In­dia’s tal­ent pool har­bors. In­dia’s startup ecosys­tem is re­plete with ex­am­ples of star­tups that have chal­lenged the sta­tus quo — and in the process, have re­de­fined how com­merce, en­gi­neer­ing, medicine, agri­cul­ture and the col­lec­tive fu­ture of this world is per­ceived. The me­te­oric rise of the aero­space sec­tor in In­dia has thrown open en­tirely new av­enues for star­tups to ven­ture into — with a ris­ing mar­ket func­tion­ing as a hot­bed for in­no­va­tion test­ing.

An­other crit­i­cal fac­tor that plays into In­dia’s ad­van­tage are

the re­cent rise in in­cu­ba­tors, ac­cel­er­a­tor­sand pos­i­tive pol­icy in­ter­ven­tions from the govern­ment. An aero­space startup ecosys­tem re­quires play­ers and men­tors with a deep un­der­stand­ing of aero­space en­gi­neer­ing, sys­tems en­gi­neer­ing and pro­gram man­age­ment, as well as the reg­u­la­tory en­vi­ron­ment. AC­CEL­ER­AT­ING IN­NO­VA­TION. The Boe­ing HorizonX In­dia In­no­va­tion Chal­lenge 1.0 was launched to cat­alyze in­no­va­tion across the evolv­ing aero­space ecosys­tem in In­dia. The re­sults of this joint ef­fort be­tween Boe­ing and T-Hub were show­cased on the “Demo Day” held in Au­gust 2018, where three In­dian star­tups and three teams from Boe­ing pre­sented ground­break­ing busi­ness ideasto an au­di­ence of po­ten­tial in­vestors and in­dus­try stake­hold­ers.

The ideas that pro­pelled th­ese star­tups to the stage ranged from ex­tended re­al­ity (XR) to In­ter­net of Things (IoT) and un­manned air ve­hi­cle tech­nolo­gies. Merx­ius de­vel­ops a prod­uct that en­ables the cre­ation of XR en­vi­ron­ments to save cost and re­duce train­ing time in aero­space man­u­fac­tur­ing. HUVIAiR re­fines cus­tom un­manned air­craft ser­vices and soft­ware so­lu­tions for sur­vey and work­flow man­age­ment. ZestIoT ex­plores so­lu­tions that con­nect the air­port and air­plane ecosys­tem us­ing IoT to op­ti­mize ground han­dling at air­ports and im­prove on-time per­for­mance of air­planes.

The 22-week long chal­lenge kicked off in Novem­ber 2017 with out­reach events tak­ing place at re­gional startup in­cu­ba­tion cen­ters in Ben­galuru, Delhi, Hy­der­abad, Mum­bai and Chennai. Star­tups were in­vited to pro­pose so­lu­tions for com­plex chal­lenges in the ar­eas of au­ton­o­mous and un­manned sys­tems, ad­vanced man­u­fac­tur­ing, in­dus­trial IoT, an­a­lyt­ics, and ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence and ma­chine learn­ing.

Ap­prox­i­mately 100 sub­mis­sions were then sub­jected to a gru­el­ing eval­u­a­tion process re­sult­ing in a short­list of 13 star­tups and six teams from the Boe­ing In­dia En­gi­neer­ing and Tech­nol­ogy Cen­ter (BIETC). The six­fi­nal­ists to make it past this round par- tic­i­pated in a three-month ac­cel­er­a­tor pro­gram at T-Hub, where they were men­tored by in­dus­try ex­perts, Boe­ing sub­ject mat­ter ex­perts and ex­perts from Startup In­dia.

The chal­lenge is over but this does not mark the end of Boe­ing’s jour­ney with th­ese star­tups and their step-change in­no­va­tions. Boe­ing will con­tinue to men­tor the star­tups and pro­vide them op­por­tu­ni­ties to con­nect to other po­ten­tial in­vestors and ex­pand their busi­ness with cus­tomers.

“In­no­va­tion can hap­pen any­where and star­tups around the world have the po­ten­tial to bring dis­rup­tive ca­pa­bil­i­ties to aero­space mar­kets and drive our in­dus­try for­ward,” said Brian Schet­tler, Manag­ing Di­rec­tor of Boe­ing HorizonX Ven­tures. “Boe­ing HorizonX is proud to part­ner with and in­vest in star­tups to help them ma­ture and scale their prod­ucts and ser­vices and cre­ate value for Boe­ing cus­tomers.”

The in­ter­nal com­po­nent of the chal­lenge, which was open to teams from BIETC, is part of Boe­ing’s ef­forts in In­dia to build a cul­ture that pro­motes in­no­va­tion and dis­rup­tive think­ing. The three in­ter­nal team fi­nal­ists were en­cour­aged to in­no­vate be­yond their reg­u­lar tasks and the ideas they pre­sented are un­der eval­u­a­tion as po­ten­tial fu­ture of­fer­ings for Boe­ing.

“Both ex­ter­nal star­tups as well as in­ter­nal ideas prom­ise to dis­rupt busi­ness mod­els and ser­vice de­liv­ery in aero­space. We are ex­cited to tap into a new pool of ideas from In­dia which will surely change the global aero­space in­dus­try,” said Pratyush Ku­mar, pres­i­dent, Boe­ing In­dia. “I am es­pe­cially proud of our three Boe­ing teams from In­dia that have made it to the fi­nals with their ideas and tech­no­log­i­cal break­throughs”.

Boe­ing will con­tinue to eval­u­ate dis­rup­tive star­tups in In­dia, apart from Boe­ing HorizonX In­dia In­no­va­tion Chal­lenge fi­nal­ists, for po­ten­tial fu­ture in­vest­ment.

As the fu­ture of aero­space and de­fence de­vel­ops, Boe­ing and its part­ners stand ready to em­brace in­no­va­tion and fresh ideas.

K.J. Ge­orge, Min­is­ter for Large & Medium In­dus­tries, IT & BT, Kar­nataka State and Pratyush Ku­mar, Pres­i­dent, Boe­ing In­dia, with the mem­bers of T-hub & startup fi­nal­ists of the Boe­ing HorizonX In­dia In­no­va­tion Chal­lenge at the Demo Day event held in the Boe­ing En­gi­neer­ing and Tech­nol­ogy Cen­tre in Ben­galuru.

(Left) Pratyush Ku­mar ad­dresses the gath­ered in­vestors, en­trepreneurs, avi­a­tion cus­tomers and other stake­hold­ers at the HorizonX Demo Day event in Ben­galuru.

(Above, L - R) Pratyush Ku­mar; Alok Nanda, CTO, GE South Asia; Jay Kr­ish­nan, CEO, T-Hub and Bala Bharad­vaj, Manag­ing Di­rec­tor, Boe­ing In­dia En­gi­neer­ing and Tech­nol­ogy Cen­ter, Ben­galuru - dis­cuss Dis­rup­tive In­no­va­tion From In­dia: Are we there yet? at a panel dis­cus­sion held dur­ing the Demo Day event of the Boe­ing HorizonX In­dia In­no­va­tion Chal­lenge in Ben­galuru.

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