Azle technologies is a constellation of hard tech companies. But how are they building their meticulous portfolio?

The traditional model of venture capitalism is often ill-suited for deep tech startups, which require significant investment and time to develop and commercialize their technologies. Azle Technologies is a company that is challenging this model with a unique approach to acquisitions. There is ample evidence that cash burning non-enterprises are neither churning out R&D that is useful in other fields (if their venture fails), nor are the companies showing a visible pathway for successful commercialization.

Led by Seshu Kiran, Azle focuses on spawning, acquiring and managing deep tech startups with the potential to solve real-world problems. The company believes that the key to success in this space lies in building synergies between different technologies and fostering a culture of innovation. For Azle, the innovation is quantifiable and they have a proprietary process called ASEE (Azle Systems Engineering Enterprise). By proactively deploying the process Azle tries to bring both the culture of innovation and discipline.

Azle’s acquisition strategy is not driven solely by financial metrics. The company places a high value on a team’s integrity, energy, and intelligence. They also look for companies with innovative technologies that can be applied to new markets. For example, Azle invested in an RF company with novel short-range communication devices, believing that the technology could have compelling applications in the medical field. Azle, through its aerospace ventures also has identified problem areas common in the aero industry. It believes new components, subsystems and standards are necessary for taking us to the next era.

To ensure that its subsidiaries function together effectively, Azle keeps developing a unique set of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for each company. These KPIs go beyond traditional metrics to account for the unique challenges and opportunities faced by each startup. As with the famous quote by the quality guru W. Edwards Deming, “If you can’t measure it, you
can’t manage it”, quantification is at the core of the Azle’s process. There are two layers of KPI measures in Azle, financial and non-financial. While financial measures are crucial, financial outcomes are only an the expression of the internal workings of an organization. As much as KPIs should be indicative of past performance, they should also be predictive of future performance.

In Seshu’s words, there is an ever more interdependence of one technology with the other, and at the same time actual products are built in silos. So there is always interoperability and compatibility issues across products to build a cohesive solution. One of the well-known examples is ERP systems and how much time it takes for deployment, customization and ongoing tuning. Add a scenario of tracking cold chain compliance for grocery brand, imagine the interplay and complexity of integrating IoT sensors into the existing system. It is rarely a cakewalk. There are many such use cases across enterprises, small businesses and consumers.

Azle’s approach to deep tech acquisitions is bold and innovative. By focusing on long-term value creation and building a collaborative ecosystem, Azle has the potential to pave the way for a new era of deep tech innovation.

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