In this month interview of the Meet the Mieters series get to know Palfinger better, a company that specialises in reliable and cost-effective lifting solutions for the use on commercial vehicles. I met with Stefan Kreppel, Head of Open Innovation PALFINGER 21st, to ask him a few questions about life as a tenant and corporate partner in the weXelerate hub.
weX: Thanks for meeting with me Stefan. Since when is Palfinger part of the weXelerate hub?
Stefan: Palfinger was one of the first tenants in the hub. The company was looking for a point of contact to innovation in Vienna, not only in our headquarter in Salzburg. That is how we became tenants here. This spring we moved to a bigger space. In Space 29 we work in three different business areas. We have software developers who develop and program software for our products. There is STRUCINSPECT, our joint-venture project with the two technology partners VCE Vienna Consulting Engineers ZT GmbH and the ANGST GROUP, that has its company headquarters here. Last but not least there is also Palfinger 21st, which is Palfinger’s own incubator and has been running since the beginning of 2018. Only half of the Palfinger 21st team is in Space 29, the other half is situated in Bergheim in Salzburg.
weX: What makes it so interesting to be part of this hub?
Stefan: For us it is interesting to be part of the ecosystem as a tenant as well as a corporate partner. We really enjoy being part of the program as it enables us to meet many new people and learn about innovative projects. weXelerate is the perfect platform for doing that. We also appreciate the ecosystem. Most of all I love the way that you bump into people in the hub, be it as part of events or other tenants. I also think that the cross-corporate idea is great. All of us are facing more or less the same challenges. The hub is the perfect place to meet with people, exchange ideas and learn from one another. The hub has become quite a melting pot. Palfinger meanwhile has many exchanges and cooperations with other tenants and/or corporate partners such as DerBrutkasten, sclable, Wüstenrot or SpeedInvest.
weX: You are “Head of Open Innovation Palfinger 21st”. What does that entail?
Stefan: Well, I’m responsible for finding external ideas and impulses that bring Palfinger forward and help us with our further internal development. I get these external ideas from cooperations with startups and other corporates as well as from ideations or hackathons. In general, being part of the weXelerate ecosystem brings us forward. As I mentioned before, being a tenant in the hub helps us to get in touch with other tenants and ecosystem partners in an uncomplicated and easy way.
weX: What was the most innovative idea that you have seen since Palfinger has been part of the hub?
Stefan: I have been on board at Palfinger for 6 months. The La Futura-weXelerate cooperation event was quite interesting as is the general development of the ecosystem together with weXelerate. The most recent idea that really impressed me was the solution to move your computer mouse with your eyes that was introduced by the startup 4tiitoo as part of the Pitch Night at the end of June. They impressed not only me but all of us jurors and deservedly won the jury’s award that night. I really enjoyed being part of this event as part of the jury. This way I can learn about many innovative projects and ideas.