Lowering the Barriers to Innovation with Advanced Engineering Simulation

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16 Sep, 2022

Lowering the Barriers to Innovation with Advanced Engineering Simulation

Article #6 Altair Startup Series. Startups play a key role in moving towards innovative circular and sustainable engineering practices.

This is the final of a 6-part series about the way simulation software can enable startups to innovate with agility and speed. The series includes case studies and deep dives into simulation technology and application.  

In this article, we explore how startup programs, including Altair's, can lower that access barrier for entrepreneurs and outline why Future.Industry is the event to attend if you're a startup interested in electrification and the use of tech in sustainability. 


In an age of climate crisis, it would be irresponsible to develop new technologies which are not sustainable in their use. According to Bosch, sustainable electrification is a necessary way to balance a world of increasing energy-demand and sustainable awareness. For example, McKinsey predicts the electrification of the automotive industry will reach 45% penetration globally by 2035. 

Nearly 70% of industrial executives are adopting electrification of industrial equipment, according to a Deloitte survey. Additionally, 55% of manufacturing leaders surveyed have support from their board of directors for sustainability initiatives.

However, in order to continue the rapid innovation that will allow for increased sustainable electrification, startups need access to the best tools on the market. One problem - the barrier to acquiring them is usually very high.

Lowering Barriers to Innovation

Startups are fertile breeding ground for innovation

Startups play a crucial role in driving innovation forward. They are very good at creating and disrupting business models. They are not afraid to iterate rapidly, because more value is placed on results and impact than the bureaucracy that ties the hands of larger companies. This sentiment is encapsulated succinctly in the phrase "fail fast, fail forward" - somewhat of a mantra in entrepreneurial circles.

Larger companies see the value these scrappy startups have to offer. That's why according to McKinsey, corporate-startup collaborations on innovation are on the rise. From 2013 to 2019, corporate venture capital investments grew 32% year-on-year. 

Tawanda Sibanda, leader of Leap by McKinsey, states, "often, corporations find start-ups are ahead of them in their markets and want to bring them in-house. [...] It’s primarily about the need for faster innovation and product development."

Access to cutting-edge tools is necessary for innovation

However, in order to create these innovative products, startups need access to cutting-edge tools. It is unreasonable to expect the 'next big thing' to be built using slow, outdated technologies. How do you want to push a frontier with a fax machine?

The challenge then for these startups is gaining access to that cutting-edge technology. The barrier to access entry can be very high, either either because they are difficult to access, difficult to use or because they are too expensive for a young startup to invest in. 

For example, your product development might depend on a certain type of programming skill that is incredibly niche or specialized - such that hiring a developer or team of developers with that specialty is simply outside your budget. Older, more established and resource-rich companies who can access those tools or talent can often beat startups by rolling out a better version to market faster, thus destroying competition.

Startup programs equip startups with cutting-edge tools for innovation

Startups are inherently designed for innovation to flourish. However, without access to cutting-edge tools, tech, and talent, this can prove a big challenge. This is where startup programs come in. They help bridge the gap and connect startups with the tools they need to successfully and competitively innovate in the market.

There are lots of different types of startup programs. 

  • Incubators: The earliest stage of support for startups. Incubators are programs designed to help new founders find their product market fit, or proof of concept. It is more focused on nurturing ideas and fleshing out business models than immediate growth. Incubators usually provide workspaces, mentorship, education and access to investors for startups or sole entrepreneurs.
  • Accelerators: These programs are geared at entrepreneurs who already have a minimum viable product and are now focused on accelerating their growth, getting their product or service into the hands of early adopters as quickly as possible.
  • Corporate partnerships: As touched on previously, this involves a mutually beneficial partnership between a corporate and startup. The corporate provides a combination of resources, support, data, market insights, and possibly funding to the startup, while the startup acts, to an extent, as the innovation arm of the corporation, testing and validating new ideas, verticals, or markets with limited risk to the corporate themselves.

Altair Startup Program

Having been in business for over 35 years, Altair knows a thing or two about what it takes to build, grow, and manage a successful business. Altair offers a Startup Program with various packages, for startups looking for additional support or acceleration in specific areas of their business. 

These packages feature two to three years of access to product development, data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and high-performance computing, depending on what your startup needs most. The packages include time with Altair experts, access to Altair solutions, and training for your team. 

The aim of the program is to help founders innovate, reduce development times, lower costs, and solve challenges. To qualify, companies must be less than 5 years old and have $5 million or less in annual revenue. Depending on the package you go for, there could be additional eligibility criteria.

Sharing Knowledge: Altair hosts Future.Industry Event

Every year, Altair hosts a free three-day virtual conference focused on how emerging technologies are shaping the future. Future.Industry unites the whole industry, from big brands to the newest startups, to explore trends, solutions, and breakthrough achievements in how technology is driving enhanced processes and products.

Future.Industry's A-list speaker lineup includes leaders from AMD, Columbia University, Google Cloud, Intel Corporation, Leonardo S.p.A, the Future Today Institute, and Kongsberg Defence and Aerospace. Between keynote speeches, panel discussions, and breakout workshops, the event is designed to bring immense value to startups with a high technological investment.

Startup founders or CTOs will be treated to a talk from Kirsten Kliphouse, President of Google Cloud North America, on "The Transformation Cloud: A New Era in Cloud Computing." She will share how companies can leverage the full potential of the cloud, enabling every person, process, and technology to bring the highest level of innovation to their business.

Dr. Rita H Wouhaybi, Senior AI Principal Engineer, Federal & Industrial Solutions Architecture at Intel Corporation will lead a breakout session about "Scaling AI at the Edge," which will explore how to successfully deploy edge AI at scale for faster access to insights, low latency, privacy, and cost-effective movement of data. 

Topics of discussion are organized across the three days, so attendees can take part in those most relevant to their needs. The agenda for days 2 and 3 highlight electrifying your product portfolio, driving sustainability, smart manufacturing, digital twins, and more.

Register for Future.Industry

Future.Industry will be held online October 4 - 6. The event is free to attend and hosted in two time zones to appeal to a global audience, Central European Summer Time (CEST) and Eastern Time (EDT).

European and Asian attendees can tune in every day from 10 am CEST, while the same talks will air again at 11 am EDT for US attendees. There will also be live audio translations on every presentation into French, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese, and Korean.

Register here.

Article One demonstrates how access to simulation software assists the next generation of, hardware teams. 

Article Two shows how mobility startup, URWHAN Bikes, benefited from Advanced Computer Integrated Technology.

Article Three talks about the way simulation software can enable startups to innovate with agility and speed.

Article Four speaks about how simulation is helping startups set the direction of the e-mobility industry.

Article Five demonstrates how startups can accelerate growth and effectively use artificial intelligence for quality assurance, data analytics, and other critical engineering tasks.