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TTB: What brought you to the 2011 New Ventures Forum?
Dr. Kuhns: I have been going to several entrepreneur training academies and classes, but most were about finding venture capital. The New Ventures Forum caught my interest because it focused on how to provide value to a strategic partner.
TTB: What were some of your key takeaways from the forum?
Dr. Kuhns: Any small company that’s thinking about partnering with a large company worries about the danger of being crushed by a more powerful partner. The presentations at the forum showed me that really wasn’t the case. I learned that the competencies of small companies and big companies are very different, with big companies typically being good at getting products out the door and earning a profit, while small companies are usually targeted toward a specific outcome, giving them more room to innovate.
TTB: What was it like working with the TTB team?
Dr. Kuhns: The TTB team was very open and accessible throughout the forum and it has been great working with them since. It has also been very straightforward, as we’re clearly all trying to achieve the same goal—delivering value to both our business and Siemens. At the Forum the TTB team focused on two main objectives: helping us develop an effective pitch to a large company, and showing us how we can work with a large company. I walked away comfortable in that knowledge.
TTB: Did the Forum result in your company engaging further with Siemens?
Dr. Kuhns: We met with Dr. Fawaz recently and have signed memorandum of understanding with Siemens. The agreement includes funding of a trial by Siemens to evaluate our technology. We plan to next take our equipment to the Siemens facilities in Nuremburg, Germany to set up a test bed alongside some of the products that Siemens already sells. Ultimately, we hope that integrating our technology will complement the existing industrial automation offerings at Siemens. We are very excited about the potential of our partnership with Siemens.