There are many fresh new companies out there today that want to share their innovations. But finding the right customers can be difficult, even though many big companies need more innovative services to meet the challenges of an increasingly digital world.
Events to promote innovative collaborations
“Many established companies think they need to make big investments to work with startups, but that’s not true. Most startups work in B2B and want strategic collaborations where they can benefit from their customer’s knowledge and contacts while being able to develop their idea,” says Stina Lantz, project manager at Ignite Sweden.
Ignite Sweden is a program that helps startups and big companies to connect and find ways to collaborate. By arranging events where big companies get to meet startups that match their needs, Ignite creates a meeting place that often leads to corporate and startup collaborations.
“The aim is to boost customer relations between Swedish startups and established companies, to allow the startups to grow and the big companies to take advantage of their innovation,” Lantz says. “Many startups get bought up by American companies and disappear overseas, where Swedish and European companies can’t benefit from their innovations.”
Corporate and startup collaborations a win-win situation
Coor has a long-standing collaboration with Things, one of the founders of Ignite, and participates regularly in Ignite’s events. According to Fredrik Sandqvist, Head of Innovation & Service Development at Coor, the company meets with 30 to 50 startups a year—meetings that lead to many innovative collaborations and projects.
“Several of these collaborations have led to new innovative services that we provide to our customers. For example, we are currently conducting a project at Nya Karolinska in Sweden using a new way to monitor how overhead doors and roller shutters work. In another collaboration, we offer services based on sensor technology, helping our customers to optimize and measure their use of space and workplaces, and to secure a healthy indoor environment for the employees,” he says.
Coor decided early on to work in ecosystems with customers focused on technological development and innovation. “Our key selling point is that we want existing and potential customers to see us as spearheading innovation. We aim to create new services using new technology.” That attitude, and the fact that the company has several fields of activity, makes it easy for Coor to find ways of collaborating with startups, Sandqvist says. “The challenge is that it takes time to find the right startups. Programs like Ignite help us, and we would love to see similar initiatives in other Nordic countries,” he says.
Coor’s broad range and openness to new ideas contributed to the company being named the “Best Startup Collaborator” by Ignite Sweden last November. “Coor has the ability to take in a startup and create an innovative collaboration that benefits the customer. It’s a win-win situation for all parties and for all of Sweden,” Stina Lantz concludes.
About Ignite Sweden
Ignite Sweden is a national program initiated in 2016 by the incubators Things, Sting, Lead, Minc and Uminova Innovation. The initiative is funded in part by Vinnova, Sweden’s innovation agency.