ABB keen on funding, buying out Indian tech startups

Global power equipment and automation major ABB is keen on funding startups in India and may even look at buying out companies that fits in its product offerings in the country, global chief executive Ulrich Spiesshofer has said.

"It is exciting times in India now with startups focussing on software, artificial intelligence and the fields that we are interested in," he told a visiting team of Indian reporters in Zurich last week.

The company's venture capital investment subsidiary ABB Technology Ventures, set up in 2009, has invested $150 million in technology and energy companies worldwide, according to information on its website. Spiesshofer said the fund is keen on becoming active in India again.

On possible mergers and acquisitions, Spiesshofer said the company is consistently looking at attractive opportunities to deploy its capital. "India is one such area," he said, adding "There are tremendous software capabilities in India not only in the engineering side but also on application software. So we are active out there."

As far as investment climate in the country is concerned he said the company is not nervous about it.

"Some of the segments are very nicely prospering and going in the right direction but there are others that are subdued. But we have been in India for long and are not getting nervous about it," he said.

He believes ABB is ideally positioned to work with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Make in India programme to improve the India's competitiveness.

"India has always been a very successful pillar of our power grid business. We have fully localised out offerings in India in this segment. We are not only catering to India, we are also exporting to South Asia. So India is more and more becoming a very important export hub in this area," he said.

The company has been operating in India for a century now and has presence in power and automation technologies.

According to the company, about 50 per cent of solar power generated in India passes through its equipment and about 70 per cent of oil production in the country is monitored and controlled by solutions provided by it.

Also about 30 per cent of Rajdhanis and Shatabdis are run on ABB traction transformers.

The company is also executing a multi-terminal UHVDC transmission link between North-East and Agra with 8,000 MW converter capacity. The 1,728 km link, which it claims is the first of its kind in the world, will transmit hydel power from the northeast region to Agra.