Cross-Industry-Innovation Possibilities shape the Top Investments 2020 in Bavaria

2020 has been a special year. It has panned out rather differently than foreseen and the global crisis, naturally, has influenced foreign direct investment markets. In the face of this, companies focused on growth opportunities in familiar locations. Thus, among Bavaria’s top investments in 2020 expansion schemes or new projects by companies with an existing base in Bavaria or Germany are noticeable. Bavaria, again, proved to be an attractive location for the mobility sector, with projects ranging from battery technologies to aerospace applications, whereby Bavaria’s strong interdisciplinary networks helped facilitate cross-industry-innovation.

January 2021

Bavaria, the perfect spot for cross-industry-innovation approaches

Today’s buzzword driving most truly significant developments across different sectors in Bavaria is cross-industry-innovation. Identifying analogies, trends or approaches from specific industries and applying them to others forms the key element of the approach. Companies benefit from a wide range of networks and sectoral diversity within the Free State that enable disruptors and start-ups to create and apply path-breaking technologies and solutions with long-term effects to change entire industry sectors and themes. The 2020 top investments reflect this, in particular in the mobility sector.

From Lithium-Ion cells to aerospace technologies: Bavaria’s thriving mobility sector 

Bavaria drives and is driven by mobility. There is of course the classical automotive sector with global players like BMW, MAN and Audi. But it encompasses a much wider range of companies and technologies from battery production to aerospace and a number of the top 2020 investment projects  bear witness to that.

VARTA Microbattery GmbH expanded its plant Nördlingen, introducing new manufacturing technology for mass production of lithium-ion cells that power, among others, autonomous transport vehicles. AVL Software and Functions GmbH, a unit of Austria’s AVL Lift, opened a brand-new facility at Roding near Regensburg, comprising an ADAS/AD sensor test competence center with a standardized test field for highly developed sensors and energy-efficient autonomous mobility solutions.

© VARTA Microbattery GmbH

Germany’s belated but now all the more powerful focus on e-mobility is behind the decision of Israel’s SolarEdge group to set up its SolarEdge e-mobility unit at Nuremberg. The new division will centralize the group’s global e-mobility activities in Bavaria, in particular research and development. By 2025, SolarEdge expects to employ several hundred people at its e-mobility hub.

Among a range of start-ups, two companies, Toogethr from the Netherlands and India’s ZyenaLabs are noteworthy among investment projects in Bavaria.

Toogethr provides a range of products and solutions to make commuting a more sustainable and comfortable operation for employees and employers alike.

ZyenaLabs develops software technologies and solutions for various application fields such as XR, health and safety, operations and trainings for aviation and aerospace, transportation as well as manufacturing. ZyenaLabs, a beneficiary of the “Ois Easy” soft landing package jointly operated by Invest in Bavaria and BayStartup, is based at the brigk makerspace in Ingolstadt, one of Bavaria’s digital hot spots.

The fact that the all-new IAA, the world’s largest motor show, is coming to Munich from 2021 onward, is also a clear indicator that Bavaria is very much a key and future-proof location for advanced and innovative mobility solutions in Europe and worldwide.

Top investments 2020 in Bavaria from the aviation and aerospace sector include a new facility of HPTex GmbH in Upper Franconia and their high-tech reflective metallic “mesh” that is used in the international aerospace technology. With its base in Upper Franconia HPTex can access the resources and know-how of the Fraunhofer Application Center for Textile Fiber Ceramics TFK at Münchberg as well as the University of Applied Sciences Hof nearby.

Mesh © HPtex

A new arrival in Bavaria is Joby Aviation, a California pioneer of electric aviation, especially with its electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing (eVTOL) aircraft. At its new base at Unterhaching near Munich, its first in Europe, it is close to the University of Munich with its Institutes of Flight Systems and Transportation and Spatial Planning, a potential source of top talent and technological expertise.

AI, Insurtech and the medical sector

Outside the mobility sector noteworthy projects in Bavaria included the AI, Insurtech and medical sectors.

Zelros, a French Insurtech start-up and a further beneficiary of the “Ois Easy” program connects data with insurance models to match artificial intelligence (AI) to the insurance branch. The strong presence of leading insurers and the thriving start-up community in Munich were the key factors in Zelros’s decision to locate in Bavaria.

Ambu Innovation, a unit of Denmark’s Ambu A/S mediacl group, a manufacturer of opto-electronic one-way endoscopes, is expanding its existing operations in the Augsburg region with the establishment of a centralized R&D unit at Augsburg Innovationspark that is to create some 100 new high-quality jobs over the next few years.

A crisis-proof and secure business location

During this extraordinary year, Bavaria and Germany have shown themselves as secure, fast-reacting and crisis-proof locations for businesses. While it is far too early to predict developments in a post-Covid-19 scenario, companies’ experiences in 2020 have shown the desirability of resilient business models. Security, stability and a resource base that enables agile responses to shocks should stand Bavaria in good stead as a suitable business location.