Matchmaking for a More Sustainable World

With 36 meetings between 7 corporates and 29 startups, Ignite Sustaintech highlighted the importance of collaboration to tackle the climate crisis.

The second edition of the matchmaking event aimed to connect sustainable products and services to new technology to help corporations move towards a more sustainable and fossil-free future.

2EM-Power is one of the clusters that has partnered up with Ignite for the organization of the event. Blekinge Business Incubator, Blue Science Park, NetPort Science Park and Örebro University are part of the project funded by the Swedish Energy Agency that aims to strengthen the commercialization of energy innovations.

“2EM-Power wants to help companies increase their capacity for innovation. One way is to offer professional matchmaking, where startups meet large corporations with real needs in open discussions. I hope the event has given them good insights into how to do business in a trustworthy way,” says Katarina Hansell, Project Coordinator for 2 EM-Power and Cluster Manager at NetPort.

The cluster Sustainable Energy Action is also a partner of Ignite Sustaintech. Behind the project we find Sting, KTH Innovation, KTH Holding, THINGS and Ignite.

“Sustaintech is one of Sting’s prioritized focus areas. Giving our companies in this space the opportunity to meet corporates and public organizations in this curated way, with relevant entry points that have a high chance of generating business, is time well spent and can lead to their market breakthrough,” explains Sting’s Deputy CEO and Business Coach, Karin Ruiz.

Katarina Hansell (EM-Power & NetPort)

Tackling the Climate Crisis with Startup Collaboration

Mitigating climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our times. Events like Ignite Sustaintech allow corporates to get in contact with startups developing groundbreaking technology that can help them reduce their climate impact.

Magnus Viström, Innovation Manager at SCA, Europe’s largest private forest owner, indicates that the forest company is continuously innovating with the aim to create higher value and smarter ways to use all the components that they extract from their forests.

“We believe in the power of entrepreneurship and see a good potential in engaging with startups to get in contact with new technology and potential future solutions. We had very interesting dialogues with many of the entrepreneurs we met at the event,” says Magnus.

SCA was one of the seven corporations that took part in Ignite Sustaintech, together with Affärsverken, IBM, Procter & Gamble, SAAB, Volvo Cars and Wellspect HealthCare.

Sustainability is also a central part of Volvo Car Body Components’ purpose, and the company has highly set targets related to this, explains their Head of People Experience HR, Håkan Ljungbeck.

Håkan emphasizes the importance of meeting startups. “We get new ideas and see new techniques that might be implemented in our plant and that will help us move into a more sustainable company. The quality of your meetings at Ignite Sustaintech was good.”

Håkan Ljungbeck (Volvo Car Body Components)

The energy sector is undergoing a major transition unlike any we have seen before. Karlskrona’s energy company Affärsverken has focused on sustainability when developing and improving our products for a long time.

“We want to create a better, sustainable-balanced everyday life for people in our area,” says Anna Hammartorp, Business Area Manager Energy.

She adds that the company is determined to move forward in the transition. “We need the help of startups and their drive and commitment to developing new technologies and business ideas. Affärsverken is a stable company that has been around for 115 years, but startups can move faster, and this combination can be really good when you find the right match.”

Anna Hammartorp (Affärsverken)

Collaboration Key to Sustaintech Startup Success

Many startups have great ideas for a sustainable future, but they might not have the muscle to make their ideas a reality only by themselves.

“With the help of a large company, it is easier to take these steps together. Larger companies sometimes have the will but not the idea on how to be sustainable, therefore working with an innovative startup is also great for them. While for a startup like ours that has a “delicate” ecosystem, working with a large company is almost key to success,” says Björn Holmström, CEO of NSS Water Enhancement Technology.

The Innovatum Science Park’s company was one of the 29 companies that met large companies at Ignite Sustaintech.

Gustaf Svensson, co-founder and CFO of Sting’s alumni Renbloc, shares this view.

Björn Holmström (NSS Water Enhancement Technology)

“Startups have the innovative thinking and the speed that is necessary for great sustainable processes. We can easily sketch up scenarios and visions for our solutions to create a positive sustainable effect but without proper testing and implementation, it is just ideas,” says Gustaf.

Eric Zhang, CEO of Uppsala Innovation Centre’s alumni Biofiber Tech, thinks that corporations often have resources and capabilities to help startups to scale up.

“Startups are a good source of creative innovations with a big sustainability impact. By working together with corporates, we can scale up and make our sustainability impact faster,” says Eric.

Gustaf believes that corporate collaboration allows startups not only to test their solutions but also to better understand how large companies adapt and incorporate new ideas.

“If a startup can get a large corporate customer to apply their sustainable solution it will send a clear message that the startup is for real and that the solution works, and this will in turn encourage others to apply the same solution. Besides, seeing a solution applied to part of your own value chain is the best way to understand the possibilities for further implementation,” he adds.

Eric Zhang (Biofiber Tech)

Matchmaking Towards Potential Collaborations

Matchmaking events are efficient door openers for startups, as they have the chance to connect with the right people at the participating corporations in 20-minute tailored meetings.

“Due to the meetings being short, the main purpose is to investigate if there is any potential for a future collaboration at all and based on that you can quickly decide what the next step is,” explains Jakob Way, CEO of Sting alumni’s Gleechi, who has taken part of over 25 matchmaking meetings facilitated by Ignite Sweden.

“Ignite Sustaintech was a very well-designed event where we could meet with agility a number of startups offering interesting and innovative capabilities in areas of interest like sustainability and digital. It was worth participating and we look forward to attending further sessions,” says Raffaele Scoccianti R&D Director Corporate Open Innovation at Procter & Gamble.

Jakob Way (Gleechi)

For NSS Water Enhancement Technology, Ignite Sustaintech was their very first matchmaking event. CEO Björn Holmström describes this first experience as smooth.

““All the information leading up to the event was spot on. Thanks to this event we were able to gain very good information and get new contacts,” he continues.

This was Cellfion’s second participation in Ignite Sustaintech. According to their CEO Liam Hardey, recently featured in the Forbes 30 Under 30 Europe, talking with large companies helps them understand the problems from another perspective.

“It can be hard for smaller companies to get in contact with large corporations. This is why Ignite Sweden is important for making that happen.”

During the first edition of Ignite Sustaintech, held in September 2021, the LEAD startup met Boliden, with whom they started a collaboration after the matchmaking.

“The collaboration is still ongoing. We have sent samples to Boliden, and they will begin testing the material together with LTU in different battery technologies. We are eagerly waiting to see the results,” says Liam.

Liam Hardey

New Edition in Fall

Ignite Sustaintech will have its third edition this fall on a date to be confirmed.

If you are a startup interested in being matched with corporates at the event, make sure you have a company profile on our platform Ignite Magic.

Corporates can let us know their interest in participating by filling the contact form in this page.

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