Collaboration for Sustainable Impact

Ignite’s first event of the fall season matched 55 sustaintech startups with 11 corporates and two public organizations to collaborate for a more sustainable world.

Focused on innovative solutions that tackle the climate crisis, Ignite Sustaintech brought together 55 sustaintech startups, 11 corporates and two public organizations to work towards a more sustainable future. A total of 69 matchmaking meetings took place during the event.

“Startups, corporations and the public sector have an important role to play. Gathering them under the same roof has the chance to inspire, enable and accelerate the transition into a more sustainable future,” says Siimon Vaske, Business Development Coach Energy & Clean Tech at KTH Innovation.

KTH Innovation was an organizer of the digital matchmaking together with Ignite Sweden, Sting and Things. The event was part of the Sustainable Energy Action, an initiative funded by the Swedish Energy Agency that aims to boost the commercialization of energy and climate-related innovations nationally. 

“To help startups get access to market is key to increasing the speed of commercialization of sustaintech innovations that can play a significant role in fighting climate change,” says Karin Ruiz, Business Coach for sustaintech and deeptech startups at Sting.

Karin Ruiz (Sting)

Disruptive Technologies for Climate Action

New disruptive solutions are required in order to take action against climate change and make a real impact. 

“You need to do things you haven’t done before. Startups are exceptionally good at solving problems in new ways. With the resources and experience from corporations, the impact becomes even greater,” explains Johannes Henriksson, co-founder of Chalmers Venture’s startup Compular. The company develops analysis tools based on machine learning and statistical physics that enable more sustainable batteries.

For Pia Wall, Innovation Business Partner at the energy company E.ON, working together with startups is all about mixing the best of both worlds.

“At E.ON we have a comprehensive experience of innovation and the muscles to really make a difference. The startup companies have the innovative ideas and the drive to find new paths to create value. Together, we can create an even bigger value for the society, the customers and the businesses.”

Johannes Henriksson (Compular)

Events like Ignite Sustaintech allow corporates to engage with startups and their groundbreaking technology that helps reduce the climate impact.

“Sustainability is one of the most important issues of our time. Our customers increasingly require that our commitment to sustainability is in line with their own goals and that we  positively contribute to the achievement of these sustainable goals. Finding solutions that can reduce both Coor’s and our customers’ climate footprint is therefore of the highest priority,” explains Mattias Wahlgren, Group Innovation Manager at the facility management company Coor. His company was matched with four startups at the event.

Mattias thinks that the challenge is to find solutions that are “truly sustainable.” “Ignite Sustaintech was an excellent platform for that. To achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, we must address the problems that are still unresolved, that’s why we engage in these types of events.”

Mattias Wahlgren (Coor)

Stronger Together

Nicklas Friberg, Head of Lindab Innovation Hub, believes that great things come from working together. “Identifying new ideas, different methods and benchmark with others are important to both avoid inventing things that already are available, but also gets us quicker access to new technologies, methods and markets.”

Lindab Ventilation met five startups at Ignite Sustaintech. “We are still following up and evaluating the startups but it looks promising.”

Pia Wall from E.ON believes that these matchmaking events are a great opportunity to get a quick feeling of the startup companies and possible collaboration areas. 

“The meetings at Ignite Sustaintech were inspiring. There were some very good matches with a number of startups. There were also other meetings where the collaboration possibilities were not that obvious, but that was valuable as well. We at E.ON need to stretch our minds and sometimes we find unexpected opportunities.”

Pia Wall (E.ON)

Alfa Laval, Boliden, IBM, IHI Corporation, Ingka, L’Oréal, SAAB, Toyota Material Handling Europe, Järfälla Municipality and Region Dalarna also took part of the event.

Towards Potential Partnerships

According to Johannes from Compular, matchmaking events like Ignite Sustaintech enable startups to test their business model hypothesis in a real setting, which is key to startup success. 

“We get insights into how big corporations work, what struggles they have and if we can help solve their problems with our technology. It is a very time-efficient way for us to find suitable prospects,” he adds. 

He met two corporations during his third participation at an Ignite matchmaking event. His startup is currently in discussion to enter pilot projects with some of the companies they have met previously through Ignite.

Another of the 55 participating startups was Cellfion, a spin-off company of RISE, KTH and LiU that is currently part of the incubator LEAD. The startup develops bio-based ion-selective membranes for electrochemical energy conversion and storage devices.

Cellfion chose to apply for this event as their business is built around bringing sustainable materials to the sustainable energy sector. “We wanted to meet organizations that think just like us,” says co-founder and CEO Liam Hardey.

Liam Hardey (Cellfion)

“We had a fantastic experience at the matchmaking event. We had very positive meetings with two well-known companies. We had the opportunity to present our company and more importantly hear more about the other organization. We have continued discussions with these companies and we are learning more from them every day,” concludes Liam.

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