Critical Software
31 August 2020
BMW and Critical Software double billing to 57M euros and will continue to hire in Porto
The joint venture between BMW and the Portuguese Critical Software, which resulted in the installation of the new Critical TechWorks in the center of Porto, expects to double its turnover to 57 million euros in 2020. In addition, this happy partnership for developing state-of-the-art software for the automotive industry wants to hire more specialized staff in the city, where the headquarters are located.

Still with the facilities under construction, in the old Post Office Building, Critical TechWorks announced that it would hire 500 staff, mainly for the ICT area, but at this moment, as the company's Chief Operations Officer (COO), Jochen Kirschbaum, advances to Lusa, the balance is already 850 people hired, mostly in the offices of Porto.

Now the goal, says the official in an interview with the news agency, is to end the year with 1,000 employees (of which about two thirds in Porto and the rest in Lisbon), compared to the 600 he had hired by the end of 2019. For 2021, the expectation is to reach a team with more than 1,200 people.

An ascending route that neither the economic crisis caused by the pandemic has touched, and which results from an excellent performance in the acceptance of the automotive world in view of the technological solutions that are being developed from the city center, right next to Avenida dos Aliados.

In fact, it aligns with the results of a study carried out during the most critical period of the pandemic, which concluded that international companies continue to settle in the city, even in such an unstable time. This fact is reflected in the leasing of offices, which also showed no signs of curbing, on the contrary, it grew by 38%.

As for the evolution of Critical TechWorks in the city, cites the same source according to statements by Jochen Kirschbaum, the pace of growth of staff has followed the evolution of turnover, which in 2018 - when its prosperous future began in a small space in the area of Campo Alegre - was three million euros, but that shot up to 32 million euros in 2019 and is expected to almost double at the end of this year, to 57 million euros.

Intended to support the development of digital solutions to equip the vehicles of the BMW group, Critical Techworks results from a partnership between the German automotive giant and the Portuguese technology company Critical Software, a software and information systems company that has NASA among the main customers.

"BMW opted for a joint venture, as an alternative to creating its own company from scratch, because the area of ​​digitization and software development is very complex and because it is very difficult to introduce new working models at BMW, a big ship [ large company] in which transformation takes time".

"We have therefore decided to choose this shortcut and establish this joint venture to learn and implement state-of-the-art software and engineering excellence in new work models, through Critical Software", quotes Lusa.

According to the COO of Critical Techworks, the partnership was the culmination of a "very long assessment, made in different markets, to see which one is the most suitable to implement it", with the final decision pending on the city of Porto, where in fact Critical Software, based in Coimbra, had already been installed in 2017, recovering a building that belonged to EDP in the city center (at Largo do Dr. Tito Fontes).

As one of the requirements "to be close to Germany, because it was intended to maintain a close relationship with the headquarters of Munich", Portugal was at the outset "identified as one of the most suitable countries, also due to political stability, the quality of higher education in the areas of sciences, mathematics and informatics and the level of innovation in different domains, of which the Portuguese Multibanco system is an example ", continues the COO of Critical TechWorks.

In the balance of two years of activity, mainly concentrated in Porto, Jochen Kirschbaum guarantees that "BMW is very satisfied with the joint venture and with its level of performance and value creation", having both the "bet in a partner, to learn from him strategy", wants the choice of the country to prove it right.

It is recalled that, at the opening of Critical TechWorks in Porto, Klaus Straub, then CIO and senior vice president of the BMW group, punctuated the speech, addressed to new employees, with a simple hashtag: #enjoyit (enjoy).

With an average age of employees of around 31/32 years, the company works in two major areas of product development. The so-called "enterprise IT", focused on software development to satisfy BMW's internal needs, in terms of production technology and financial products. And, on the other hand, it invests in the area of ​​automotive connectivity, which explores new software in terms of car electronics, from entertainment to the development of platforms, applications, back-end or cloud systems, that is, "everything that is for the future of mobility and connectivity for automobiles ", says the official.

For the COO of Critical Techworks, it is "impressive" the number of products already developed in just two years of activity, because, according to him, in this field "companies take two to three years to launch something new in the market", quotes the Lusa.

Jochen Kirschbaum highlights the new BMW application, which can be installed on the mobile phone and which allows remote control of some functions of the vehicle, such as checking whether the windows are open and closing them, locking the doors, or sending travel destinations to the car navigation system. Launched in July in some of BMW's main markets, such as Germany, France, and the Netherlands, this application will be available soon in our country.

Likewise, the director underlines the contribution that Critical Techworks is making to the development of the new electric vehicle to be launched in July 2021 by the German giant. In the BMW i4, he says, "many products developed by the company are going to be incorporated".
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