“Find partners that know stuff that you don’t do and do things together with them”

This is one of the conclusions that Jan Ackalin from Alfa Laval shared from their successful collaboration journey together with the startup Ekkono Solutions. Watch their presentation at Ignite Sweden Day 2019.

People present on stage

Alfa Laval and Ekkono Solutions was one of the successful use cases that were presented on stage at Ignite Sweden Day 2019 as part of the section: “SCALE IT – From Sweden to Global: How to create a new service to conquer a world market”.

The Swedish industry giant Alfa Laval was looking for startups that could help them in their digital transformation journey when they met Ekkono Solution at one of our matchdays.

– Alfa Laval is a company with 70 000 people and we do mechanical products, and we see this digital transformation all around. (…) We started our journey on digital transformation by defining the values that we wanted to deliver. It took some time to understand how can we deliver what we call connectivity enable services, and how can we add the functions and the features that AI and machine learning can bring to this. We partner up with companies like Ekkono because they deliver value to us and we offer similar values to our customers. So in that sense we also act as a startup”, Jan Ackalin, Head of Automation at Alfa Laval, during the presentation.

“We need that domain knowledge from the corporates to make that machine learning together with the data sing”, says Anders Alneng from Ekkono Solutions.

Ekkono Solutions does machine learning for IoT. For the startup it was important to find corporate customers with a great domain knowledge.

– When it comes to machine learning, it sounds really cool but it’s really nothing if you don’t combine that with some good domain knowledge. We at Ekkono can never have the domain knowledge about everything that every company does. We need that domain knowledge to make that machine learning together with the data sing. Without that domain knowledge we are really nothing”, says their co-founder and Vice President Sales, Anders Alneng.

Jan Ackalin highlights the importance of collaborating with startups.

– My advice is don’t go alone. Find partners, find people with passion, that know stuff that you don’t do and do things together with them. That’s why we Alfa Laval like companies like Ekkono. They have a passion, a purpose and they do stuff that we aren’t good at yet”, explains Jan.

“We partner up with companies like Ekkono because they deliver value to us and we offer similar values to our customers”, says Jan Ackalin from Alfa Laval.

They finished their presentation by sharing 7 tips that can help both startups and large companies in their own collaboration journeys: 

  1. Identify “don’t go alone” use cases. In which areas should you cooperate with others?
  2. Engage cross-functional on both sides. You cannot make a business scale if you don’t engage in other parts of the organization.
  3. Work towards industrialization (roll out) from day one. Have that in mind. Don’t be pleased just because you got a PoC. You must talk to the customer constantly about how you will industrialize the solution.
  4. Domain knowledge is king! The technical side can always be solved.
  5. Find startups that have the speed that you would like to have.
  6. Use matchmaking networks like Ignite Sweden.  

#FunFact: Ekkono Solution met Alfa Laval in April 2017 at Ignite Sweden’s very first matchday. But neither Jan nor Anders took part in that initial matchmaking meeting. “That goes to show that you really have to aline on different functions inside companies and you have to work really closely to make something happen”, says Anders. 

Would you like to learn the best collaboration practices and meet AI startups that can bring value to your company, just like Ekkono has done with Alfa Laval? Join the Sweden Innovation Days on 17-19 November 2020. Sign up for free on https://swedeninnovationdays.confetti.events/.

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