Merck’s Austin hub is developing virtual reality and augmented reality technologies to advance a wide range of products.
The Germany-based company unveiled its plan at Austin tech accelerator Capital Factory on Friday, with officials saying they want to expand the current four-person engineering team.
“I’m really amazed at the attitude in this place -- it’s almost contagious,” said Jim Stewart, Merck’s chief information officer. “You’re in the middle of all kinds of things, and this is the right place for us to be. Some of the team’s work here has already made it back to Germany.”
Merck KGaA is a multinational chemical, pharmaceutical and life sciences company headquartered in Darmstadt. It has 50,000 employees in 70 countries. The company is expected to post $16 billion in sales this year.
Joshua Baer, founder and executive director of Capital Factory, said the plan is for Austin startups developing VR and AR technology to interact with the Merck KGaA team and share ideas.
“A big part of what we do is introduce people to big companies and help them understand the major challenges they face,” Baer said. “There’s a lot of cross-pollination where big companies learn from small companies and become partners.”
Capital Factory has partnered with other industries to foster entrepreneurship. In March, it teamed up with mobile transit tech company Moovel North America to create an accelerator for transportation-related startups.
The effort, called MobilityX, will focus on mentoring new mobility-as-a-service companies and bringing innovative solutions to the transportation sector.
Portland, Oregon-based Moovel is owned by Daimler AG, the maker of Mercedes-Benz, and develops urban mobility apps and services.
Startups in the MobilityX program will have access to dedicated office space, classrooms and meeting rooms, and will receive mentoring on topics including marketing, product development and mentoring.
Last year, the U.S. Department of Defense launched an incubator called DIUx at Capital Factory. DIUx is intended to connect the Pentagon and the U.S. tech community, and scout for startups to invest in.
News on Open Source is free and unlimited. Access to the rest of 512tech.com comes with an American-Statesman digital subscription, which also includes myStatesman.com and the ePaper edition. Subscribe at statesman.com/subscribe.