Linde Material Handling acquires start-up Comnovo
July 11, 2017
Industrial-truck manufacturer Linde Material Handling has acquired Dortmund-based start-up Comnovo, in a deal that bolsters Linde MH’s extensive portfolio of safety solutions with the addition of leading vehicle localisation technology. High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF), SeedCapital Dortmund and Acquarium Partners are delighted to have secured a successful exit.
There has been a substantial reduction in the number of workplace accidents in Germany in recent years, but every accident is one too many. Especially when industrial vehicles are involved, risks do still exist. The Aschaffenburg-based company’s acquisition of Comnovo represents another step in its “Zero Accidents” safety offensive.
Comnovo’s innovative vehicle localisation system emits sounds or vibrates to warn of approaching vehicles. The technology’s stand-out feature is its ability to “see” through loaded palettes, shutters and even walls – with 10cm accuracy. Founders Dr. Andreas Lewandowski, Dominik Gerstel and Volker Köster, as well as former HTGF Investment Manager Ron Winkler are the individuals behind Comnovo.
Managing Director Dr. Andreas Lewandowski explains: “With cars, we’re familiar with a wide range of assistance systems, such as autonomous cruise control, collision warning systems, navigation and position systems. We took this and transferred it to the challenges faced in the field of intralogistics – an area in which the flow of goods is constantly growing and processes are becoming increasingly complex.”
Ron Winkler, Head of Sales at Comnovo, underscores the excellent prospects that the partnership opens up for the Dortmund-based company: “As the market leader, Linde MH has built up a powerful sales network for intralogistics products and solutions. This gives rise to completely new opportunities for both sides, from development to market penetration.”
Andreas Krinninger, Chief Executive Officer at Linde MH, says: “Acting as a partner for clients seeking material flow solutions, we are closely looking into ways to improve passive and active safety when using industrial trucks. In Comnovo, we have found a dynamic and creative partner that is a perfect fit for our innovative portfolio of technologies. Together, we will expand the Linde range of products for assistance systems and develop them further for our clients.”
Yann Fiebig, Investment Manager at High-Tech Gründerfonds: “HTGF was one of the first investors to believe in Comnovo’s ultra-wideband technology platform and the excellent team of founders. Comnovo was then able to establish itself as an innovation leader in the field of assistance systems. We’re delighted about the successful exit for HTGF. We are convinced that, in Linde MH, we’ve found the ideal partner for the company to advance the market for safe material flow solutions.”
Nico Hemmann, Investment Manager at SeedCapital Dortmund, adds: “We are delighted that, based on our seed-phase investment and the company’s very strong business development, the firm has been able to set the foundation for unlocking its full potential at the Dortmund site as part of a multinational corporation.”
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Christian Wietfeld, head of the department for communication networks at TU Dortmund university and co-founder, is delighted to see how the spin-off from his department has developed: “The continued, sustainable growth of what represents a successful transfer of internationally recognised research findings into leading technological products at the Dortmund site has been made possible by Comnovo’s acquisition by European market leader Linde MH.”
Jürgen A. Neumann, founder and Managing Director of Acquarium Partners, adds: “Our active investment approach for industrial technology companies has created tangible value. We are delighted for the team, who have done a fantastic job, and are convinced that, in Linde MH, we have found the ideal industrial partner to carry the vision forward.”
About Linde MH:
Linde Material Handling GmbH, a KION Group company, is a leading global manufacturer of forklift trucks and warehouse trucks, and a solutions and service provider for intralogistics. With a sales and service network that spans more than 100 countries, the company is represented in all major regions around the world. In the 2016 financial year, the Linde MH EMEA Operating Unit (Europe, Middle East, Africa) recorded a total revenue of roughly EUR 2.9 billion, with approximately 10,500 employees worldwide. Global sales of Linde trucks amounted to over 109,000 units in 2016.
Comnovo is a spin-off of the department for communication networks at TU Dortmund university. Based on its patented technology, Comnovo’s focus is on developing innovative assistance systems. Comnovo solutions are used for forklift trucks in particular, but that can also be used for all types of industrial vehicles, such as wheel loaders and even industrial cranes. They can also be utilized in forestry work.
About SeedCapital Dortmund:
SeedCapital Dortmund II GmbH & Co. KG invests in young, innovative high-tech start-ups companies in the Dortmund region. Our investors include Sparkasse Dortmund and NRW.BANK, as well as a private investor. Together with our financing partners, we can provide companies with seven-figure sums of venture capital. Furthermore, SeedCapital Dortmund collaborates closely with the local competence centres Technologiezentrum Dortmund, BioMedizinZentrum, MST.factory as well as the Centre for Production Technologies.
About Acquarium Partners:
Acquarium Partners (www.acqpartners.com) is an active co-investor that specialises in the field of medium-sized technology and industrial companies. In addition, the company helps institutional investors, family offices and industrial holdings to identify and leverage potential to increase value in investment portfolios, fostering the creation of sustainable solutions in keeping with industrial logic. The company’s range of services also includes consulting, advisory-board functions and management-board responsibilities.
About High-Tech Gründerfonds:
High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) is Germany’s most active seed stage investor. With a fund volume of around EUR 820 million (EUR 272 million HTGF I, EUR 304 million HTGF II, EUR 245 million HTGF III, first closing), we provide financing for young, innovative technology-driven startups and actively support them in implementing their business idea. We are active in a wide range of fields. The focus of our three investment teams is on hardware-related engineering, life science, chemicals and material science, as well as software, media and the internet. Up to EUR 3 million in funding is available for each company. In addition to our financial commitment, we support technology companies by giving them access to our team’s expertise as well as our extensive network of investors, experts, experienced managers, founders who have started numerous companies, and scouts. Investors in this public-private partnership include the Federal Ministry For Economic Affairs and Energy, the KfW Banking Group, as well as the companies ALTANA, BASF, B.Braun, Robert Bosch, BÜFA, CEWE, Deutsche Post DHL, Drillisch AG, EVONIK, Haniel, Hettich, Knauf, Körber, Lanxess, media + more venture Beteiligungs GmbH & Co. KG, PHOENIX CONTACT, Postbank, QIAGEN, SAP, Schufa, Schwarz Gruppe, STIHL, Thüga, Vector Informatik and WACKER.