According to the VDMA survey , collaboration with startups plays an important part for two thirds of member companies. 55% are currently involved in one or more cooperation agreements of this sort, and even among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) the figure is 44%. 70% of those surveyed stated that they are happy with this model and are hoping to take it further: over the next few years, almost three quarters of companies will be looking to work closely with agile startups.
The reasons are clear: 93% want access to new technologies, 90% want to develop new business models and products. In particular when it comes to Industry 4.0, the Industrial Internet of Things (IoT), data analytics and artificial intelligence, an overwhelming majority of system and mechanical engineers see collaboration with startups as a worthwhile strategic model. This shows how keen on innovation the industry really is: a Bitkom survey of all German industries concluded in mid-2018 that about two thirds of SMEs allow the opportunity to cooperate with a startup to pass them by.