Amid the pandemic and the economic crisis, BMW and Critical Software double turnover to 57 ME and will hire more staff

  • Article



Miguel Nogueira

BMW and Portuguese company Critical Software joint venture, which have led to the establishment and settling in Porto city centre of the Critical TechWorks company, expect to have an annual turnover of 57 million euros in 2020 and want to hire more employees and set them to success. 

The BMW group, reputed German trend setter and world class automobile engineering has chosen Porto to reach its next milestone: building the car of the future, jointly with Critical Software, by developing and producing a pioneer software that will be used in the BMW automobile fleet.

BMW betting on the Portuguese company Critical Software for this joint venture led to the establishment of Critical TechWorks, which is based in the city of Porto, at the Edifício dos Correios, next to Porto City Hall.

Critical Software is one of the most important software companies in the world, whose client portfolio includes the United Kingdom Armed Forces, north-American NASA, the European Agency ESA, Chinese Agency CNSA and Japanese Agency JAXA, Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, EDP (Energias de Portugal) and the Bank of New York.

While the works were still ongoing towards renovating the building, Critical TechWorks had already announced the hiring of 500 highly skilled workers till 2020. But, as of the present time, as stated to Lusa by the company's COO Jochen Kirschbaum, the number of jobs created is now 850, mostly in the offices in Porto.

The main target now, as highlighted by Kirschbaum to that news agency, is to conclude 2020 with a workforce of 1.000 employees (of which two thirds are located in Porto and the remainder in Lisbon). For 2021, expectations meet the goal of gathering a team of over 1.200 workers.

The pandemic and the resulting economic crisis did not hinder the company's investment in Porto.

According to Critical Software's CEO, "Porto has an increasingly strong technological DNA, bringing together all the essential factors - material and human, lifestyle, energy and youth to seduce and contaminate the most qualified talents. And that's what we'll be working for. Because if Porto is already a prominent engineering exporter, it will be even more so in the future".

Regarding the Critical TechWorks evolution in the city of Porto, Jochen Kirschbaum stated, cited by Lusa, that turnover developments, which was three million euros in 2018, skyrocketed to 32 million euros in 2019, and it is expected to reach 57 million euros by the end of the year.

"BMW choose a joint venture, instead of setting up their own business because the scanning and development software are rather complex and very hard to implement new types of work at BMW, which is a big ship where transformation takes time; that is why we have decided to choose this shortcut and establish this joint venture to learn how to implement state of the art software and engineering through Critical Software", according to Lusa.

Critical Techworks's COO furthered that the establishment of such a partnership "was the culmination of a thorough evaluation, in different markets to choose the most suitable location to implement a partnership and the final decision was on Porto".

"To begin with, the prerequisite was to implement a joint venture in a close location to Germany, so, Portugal was the starting point to choosing such a location, for its political stability, highly skilled workforce in such areas as sciences, mathematics, computer science and innovation at several levels, as the Portuguese ATM (Multibanco)", as the COO of Critical TechWorks, Jochen Kirschbaum explains.

Following an assessment of the past two years in Porto, Jochen Kirschbaum ensures that "BMW is very mush pleased with this joint venture and their level of performance and value creation, as "BMW anticipates learning a lot from a partner".

For Critical Techworks' COO "the amount of already developed products is impressive in just two years of activity, as normally companies take two to three years to launch something new in the market", as cited by Lusa, adding that Critical Techworks is playing a significant role in the launch of the new electric vehicle to be launched in July 2021 by BMW.

Porto has been mostly struck by the pandemic at the level of micro companies, hotel and tourism sectors and national investors. Conversely, big companies, the Tech sector and international investors indicate slight losses.

These are the main conclusions of a study carried out by the Municipality of Porto, through InvestPorto, the attraction of investment office, which has analysed the effects of the pandemic in the city's strategic business companies.

This study by Porto City Hall features the findings calculated on the basis of the feedback by 65 companies in the city, through the inquiry: "Porto: Covid-19 Business Continuity Survey", drafted by InvestPorto.

Participating companies with over 4.000 employees have generated a combined turnover of 768 million euros.

It is worth highlighting that despite the strong impact of Covid-19 on local economy, the majority of strategic companies for the city's economic development faces the future with optimism and retains the intention of continuing to recruit new collaborators.