The German semiconductor company has a long history of supporting startups worldwide. They are Infineon’s innovation partners, customers, and market channels.

Startups are crucial to developing next-generation technology. Cooperation between large technology providers and industry newcomers is essential to devise new products and unlock untapped markets.

Infineon — a leader in hardware security, smart components, and embedded power solutions — collaborates with hundreds of startups in different regions and fields. The cooperation goes beyond just supporting the development of new products using Infineon technology; it also helps them reach potential markets and enable new use cases.

To learn more about Infineon’s startup approach, we talked to Lamin Ben-Hamdane, Head of Startup Cooperation & Partnerships, Infineon. His role is to connect leading startups with Infineon.

The following is a transcription of our conversation with Ben-Hamdane, edited for clarity.

The Channelist: Good morning, Lamin. Thank you for taking the time to talk to us today. Please share with us how Infineon works with startups and why it is important to have them as your market partners.

Ben-Hamdane: Thank you, Pablo. You can classify our startup cooperation into four categories:

First, the business units — the divisions responsible for generating revenue with our products. The way we cooperate with startups is they’re lead customers for us in new applications. For example, wearables, bi-directional EV charging, service robotics, all these kinds of new applications.

We provide them with our latest products. We provide them with tech support so that they can develop their product faster based on Infineon components. And for us, we learn a lot; we get early insights about innovation on a system level. We also position our products in those new applications. So that’s one area, startups as lead customers.

The second category relevant to our business units is startups as go-to-market partners. There, you can imagine embedded software startups that work well with our chips, with our components.

An example here would be our radar sensor; we work with one startup that is an algorithm specialist and a radar specialist, so they can derive from radar signals to check blood pressure. This is a typical go-to-market partnership where a startup is providing software, and we provide hardware. Together we can enable new use cases.

A self-explanatory third category is cooperation in the R&D space, such as if you have a startup developing a new MEMS IP or advanced materials like novel terminal interface materials.

And then, in the fourth category, we are also engaging with startups the other way around — seeing startups as innovative suppliers for us. We are the customer of a solution to optimize all kinds of internal processes.

The Channelist: These are the four types of collaborations you are doing with startups. Are you also working with startups as part of your channel sales?

Ben-Hamdane: Channel sales? Yes, there are some cases. As I said, we see them as go-to-market partners, but some startups, for example, are helping a broad range of engineers design PCB boards.

They have a library of components that, with AI, automatically suggest designs so that engineers can create separate boards. These kinds of relationships are more like a channel for us because, if all components are in the library of this startup, engineers who use the startup solution to design their PCB boards learn about Infineon components.

The Channelist: And where are most of those startups based?

Ben-Hamdane: In general, we follow a global approach. Many are based in Europe, but we work with startups worldwide. When we look for startups in certain areas, we usually go for international scouting, such as the U.S., Europe, and Asia with the exception of China.

The Channelist: Can you share one or two significant examples?

Ben-Hamdane: One in the area of go-to-market partnership and software. We are very active in the market application of EV charging stations. It is a fast-growing market.

And there we want to offer more complete system solutions. That means not just our power electronics hardware and microcontrollers but a complete system, including software. And for that we work with a company called EcoG, a Munich-based startup. They offer the end rate for EV charging stations. It’s a software system to manage EV charging stations, also up to the user interface. We work together with them as a typical go-to-market partnership because they help us offer complete system solutions to our customers, which, in that case, are developers of EV charging stations. And with these complete solutions, our customers can speed up the development of their products because we offer them a reference design, including software. They can take it and modify it so they don’t have to start from scratch.

The Channelist: Lamin, thank you for your time today. We look forward to seeing more examples of collaboration between Infineon and its partners.

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