TechConnect News speaks with John Sirman, Director of External and Emerging Technologies within Linde.
Please tell us about yourself and your role within Linde.
I am the Director of External and Emerging Technologies within Linde. My role is to identify, engage with and analyze technologies or corporations that have technology that can bring benefit to Linde, and to seek out the best possible relationships and methods of interaction with those people and companies.
Tell me more about Linde and the role of strategic/venture investments?
Linde is the leading industrial gas company in the world. We recently completed our merger with Praxair to become One Linde. Our primary products are atmospheric gases such as oxygen and nitrogen and process gases such as hydrogen, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. We also provide many other industrial gases beyond these. Linde is very active in developing new applications for our products and has several world class R&D facilities around the world developing new technologies to support the use of industrial gases. As part of the development effort, Linde works with 3rd party companies including start up companies with novel technology that can add value to our organization. These collaborations take many forms and can include everything from seed investments in the start-up, to a full acquisition.
What level of commercial maturity do you typically look for in technology partnerships?
We are interested in many stages of commercial maturity, but it should be at least at TRL 3. More commonly, technology should be at TRL6 or beyond. Within our internal R&D departments, we have a portfolio of projects across the maturity range, and look to manage technology collaborations in the same manner. Depending on the fit and value to Linde of the technology, the readiness of the technology and time to commercialization can be larger or smaller. Projects can be managed in many ways, from a very hands-off approach to fully integrating the technology. This will typically depend on how close to our core competencies the external technology may be.
Tell us why innovation is important to your company and how this model supports your efforts to find new innovations. Could you describe 1-2 policies or programs your company has in place to support external innovation?
Innovation at Linde is critical to the long term success of Linde. As such Linde as a large R&D department to support growth from new innovations. Embedded in the R&D group is a team dedicated to exploring external technology and innovation. You can submit an idea for consideration through our web portal at www.linde.com, or you can contact John Sirman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What makes Linde a good strategic partner for a start-up?
Linde combines a team of expert technologists to support the new development and a well- established channel to market for our products. As a leader in our industry, technologies related to our industry will have a greater chance of success through our collaboration with entrepreneurial innovators.
Tell us why you participate at TechConnect World? Has the TechConnect innovation matchmaking helped you find new technologies?
TechConnect-National Innovation Summit provides the opportunity to review and discuss with innovators from a wide array of backgrounds in a short period of time. We have pursued further engagement with several of the companies that we met with at prior events.
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