After launching co-pace in 2017, the startup organization of Continental, the company is pleased to announce the organization’s first spin-off company: PassiveBolt. Promoting both intrapreneurship across Continental as well as entrepreneurship, co-pace is designed to tap into future business models and creative concepts outside the confines of traditional corporate structures. The core elements that make up co-pace, the incubator and the co-operation program, are closely linked with a corporate venture capital arm to support entrepreneurs at various stages throughout their journey. These entrepreneurial ideas can come from company employees, as is the case with PassiveBolt’s founder, as well as external startups.
As new enterprise models continue to disrupt traditional businesses at remarkable speeds, co-pace helps Continental maintain its technology leadership and shape the future of mobility and beyond.
“Continental’s concept for co-pace was simple: create something that can accelerate the company’s innovation and agility,” explains Juergen Bilo, managing director of co-pace GmbH. “We empower our employees and external entrepreneurs to explore their ideas, offering mentorship and, in some cases, financial support. This approach enables Continental to stimulate and access the creativity and execution speed needed to stay competitive in today’s rapidly changing mobility and technology marketplace.”
What started as a concept inside Continental’s first co-pace cohort has officially blossomed into its own independent entity, PassiveBolt, with financial backing from Continental and other external investors. Ann Arbor, Michigan-based PassiveBolt brings Automotive Grade Touch Technology to the front door, enabling touch-sensitive keyless entry for the home. The company produces a white-labeled module that converts existing door locks into smart, touch-enabled locks, utilizing smartphones as a key.
While working on Continental’s keyless entry team, Kabir Maiga, co-pace intrapreneur and CEO of PassiveBolt, saw an opportunity to adapt the technology from an automotive application to a smart home innovation. Thanks to the co-pace incubator, Maiga was able to take PassiveBolt from concept to fruition and is still able to rely on Continental for support as he navigates the next phase of the entrepreneurial road. For example, Continental stands ready to provide not only guidance, but also manufacturing services to the new company as it develops.
“co-pace gave me the freedom, resources and guidance to modify a technology that revolutionized how we access our vehicles, for accessing and safeguarding our homes,” says Maiga. “It’s inspiring to have worked for an employer that not only recognizes the shifting business ecosystem ahead and prepares accordingly, but also values and supports employee ideas and concepts for new ventures.”
Varying perspectives and experiences spur creativity and innovation, elements Continental considers vital to its future success. Both within co-pace and in everyday work, employees are encouraged to generate disruptive ideas and challenge the status quo.
Giving employees the opportunity to tap into their entrepreneurial side with co-pace supports Continental’s mission to create a motivating, engaging and inclusive workplace for all. The company’s efforts have led to numerous recognitions for being an employer of choice, named to lists like FORTUNE’s “World’s Most Admired Companies,” Forbes’ “America’s Best Employers for Diversity,” and Michigan’s Top Workplaces by the Detroit Free Press, among others.