With start-up companies increasingly driving innovation in various research and technology domains worldwide, Airbus has launched multiple initiatives – including a team called “start-up 2 partner” – to tap into this productive business dynamic.
Embedded within Airbus as part of the company’s Innovation department, the “start-up 2 partner” team aims to build mutually-beneficial partnerships with small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in selected domains, supporting start-ups working on new developments in a number of industries through a collaborative approach.
Airbus provides for the selected start-ups, while also offering the ability to facilitate “de-risking” and acceleration of technologies using its own prototyping and expertise. In addition, the “start-up 2 partner” team provides access to an invaluable global network of airlines, suppliers and selected partners – while within Airbus, it promotes new, more flexible ways of working learned from the entrepreneurial culture of start-up companies.
Since its creation in 2014, the "start-up 2 partner" team has screened an impressive 600-plus start-ups and evolved 30 projects. Currently, there are 10 partnerships in their portfolio.
As one example of the programme’s successes, the team recently collaborated with a Canadian company to apply a disruptive nanomaterial technology in cockpit windshields as protection against laser attacks from the ground. This solution has now been introduced with selected airlines to accelerate its market entry, and Airbus intends to offer the technology on new production jetliners as well as a retrofit option for in-service aircraft.