Fostering Sustainable Impact Through Collaboration

During Sustaintech Matchday, 16 corporates and 36 environmental startups converged to explore collaborative opportunities aimed at addressing the challenges of the climate crisis.

Focused on innovative solutions that tackle the climate crisis, the fourth edition of Sustaintech Matchday brought together 35 climate tech startups and 16 corporates at KTH Innovation in Stockholm to work towards a more sustainable future. A total of 91 matchmaking meetings took place during the event, aiming to explore synergies and potential collaboration opportunities.

The corporate line-up included Swedish companies such as Alfa Laval, Boliden, Coor, Eltel, Fortum, Göteborgs Hamn, H&M, Ingka Group, Kavli, SAAB, and Stena Fastigheter, as well as international ones, including A2A (Italy), bp (UK), CMPC (Chile), Liebherr-Hausgeräte (Germany), and the Stockholm Representative office of Mitsubishi Corporation (Japan).

For the participating corporates, it was a great opportunity to get in contact with startups developing groundbreaking technology that can help them reduce their climate impact.

bp’s New Ventures and Supply Innovation Manager, Adam Brown, explains the importance of partnering up with sustaintech startups for his company.

“We are an oil and gas company by legacy. We have a 2050 ambition to be net zero. The way we are going to get there is accelerating five businesses that are focused on low carbon energy and sustainable energy. And we can’t do it on our own. We need to find game-changing technologies that we can scale and that can help us accelerate these five growth engine businesses,” he says.

This was not only the first time he met startups through Ignite but also his very first time in Sweden.

“Before meeting the Ignite team, I didn’t know how prominent Sweden is in terms of being a hub for innovation and startups. I’m impressed by the link up with science parks, universities and the private sector,” he continues.

Swedish Climate Tech Startups at the Forefront

During the event, the participating corporates had the chance to connect with environmental startups featured in the Swedish Climate Startup Map.

Danilo Randazzo, Head of Product Innovation at the German company Liebherr Appliances,
shared his perspective on Swedish environmental startups.

“In Sweden, there are many really innovative startup solutions that, especially within the field
of sustainability, could have a real impact. This is something that we at Liebherr are
interested in and the reason why we are coming to Sweden to meet all these startups,”

explains Danilo.

He adds: “I have had many meetings with startups all over the world, and I think that
Swedish startups have always been really prepared and informed. They knew who
they were talking to and what was of interest to them. I’ve always appreciated the structured and result oriented approach within these meetings and dialogues.”

“It was great to meet Swedish startups in person. We had some really good discussions with
them. It was very inspiring to get to talk about sustainability with them, even with startups that might not be a direct match. We are going home with many impressions and new impulses,”
says Danilo’s colleague at Liebherr, Mario Geiss.

The Value of In-Person Connections

While the virtual realm has become an integral part of business interactions, the in-person nature of Sustaintech Matchday added value to the connections among participants. This format allowed them to benefit not only from face-to-face interactions but also opened up opportunities for networking and spontaneous conversations with companies they hadn’t been matched with, thereby enhancing the overall value of the event.

Sting’s alumni company Cling Systems is one of the 36 climate tech startups participating in Sustaintech Matchday. The startup is developing a system that works as a market maker for end-of-life batteries that connects different stakeholders.

Cling Systems’ Albin Eklund and David Hjelmström met with four corporates during the event.

“The meetings went very well. We really liked that they were face to face. It was easier to get a feeling of understanding and to interact with the companies. This matchmaking is great because you get to meet large companies that are really interested in what you are doing. Then you have these 20 minutes to spark even more interest. It is a great opportunity to get into discussions on possible next steps.”

Clara Baker, Assistant Manager at Mitsubishi Corporation Sweden, thinks that even if they are used to meeting startups both digitally and in-person, there is a slight difference when meeting them personally.

“You can actually look them in the eye and shake hands. I think you get a stronger impression of a person when doing it face to face. There is a value there for us. You can also maybe have more time to have some general small talk or cover topics that you wouldn’t do when you speak online because there you focus more on speaking about the business, which is, of course, the important thing,” explains Clara.

She has also highlighted Ignite’s work in scouting startups for them to meet according to their corporate challenges.

“We can’t really look at every single company that exists. And for us, if an organization like Ignite has first done a screening and picked up ‘the golden ones’, that makes our work a lot easier because then we have some form of guarantee that these companies have good technologies and good ideas.”

Collaboration Key to Climate Tech Startup Success

For startups, the essence of success lay not only in developing groundbreaking products but in fostering relationships.

“We are creating our product as we go. We need as many long-term customers as possible, both for the sustainability of our business and to design the product for them with all the features they actually need. Working with customers at a very early stage allows us to implement their feedback into our product. If we can say that we have collaborated with a big company that everyone knows, it will be a testament to the value of our customer-driven approach, naturally leading to increased interest and trust from potential customers,” explains Max Wijk Stranius from Flowtropolis.

Flowtropolis is a multi-user XR platform that enables companies to create user-friendly tools for streamlining R&D, training and marketing. Their VR technology not only increases the likelihood of securing more deals but also reduces costs and the environmental footprint.

“We need customers as input on our future products that will be refined. We had really good meetings today and two very concrete next steps. We look forward to continuing talking with these companies and making them our long-term customers,” says his colleague Ylva Hansdotter.

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