Sharing Learnings at VNTRS & Ignites Summer BBQ

Together with VNTRS, we held an event to share best practices and lessons learned from corporate and startup collaboration.

During the evening, 50 startup and corporate representatives listened to success stories from collaborations, fireside chats, and startup pitches. The event aimed to give both Ignite members and VNTRS portfolio companies the chance to meet each other and share best practices and learnings between them.

“We have fantastic people and companies in our network who definitely benefit from meeting in person. In this case, we also got to merge the know-how and some of VNTRS’ portfolio companies into the mix. This highlighted ways of developing and growing your business with different partnerships and investment models that we at Ignite do not normally focus on, but we know are crucial for startups. So I am happy that we decided to join forces with VNTRS to make this happen,” says Ignite’s Head of Startup Relations, Cathrin Johansson.

VNTRS is a consultant and investment company that helps entrepreneurs and large corporations to build innovative digital products and services. Since 2019, our initiative has cooperated with the company in the development of the platform Ignite Magic.

Cathrin Johansson (Ignite Sweden)

“Startups need to find good corporations that actually need their services. Corporates also need to find startups to innovate, not only to defend their position but to grow. I’m very proud to have this event together with Ignite as that’s their sole purpose, to make this matchmaking happen,” says VNTRS COO Joachim Widd.

“VNTRS was founded by only four people. We were all product founders before, so we learned a lot from our mistakes and success. I honestly think it is the mistakes that are the most humbling and where you learn the most,” reflects their CEO Kristaps Prusis.

Broadening Corporate Perspectives

The evening continued with a panel discussion with representatives from the Swedish forestry company Södra and the multinational technology corporation IBM on the success factors and KPIs when collaborating with startups.

“IBM turned 111 years old this year. We have rethought what we are about a couple of times and that is what we try to do regionally and globally,” says Urban Roth, Leader of IBM Innovation Studio Sthlm. 

The corporation is looking for partners in the region that complement the multinational offer, engaging around 15 partners per year. 

“We are trying to go from reactive to proactive in terms of looking for more diversity in founder teams. We are on the scout for impact companies that are contributing to sustainability. We are now really trying to connect the ecosystems so all these impact companies can create a real corporate impact that also has measurable results,” he adds. 

Urban Roth
Urban Roth (IBM)

Södra’s Investment Manager, Erik Bengtsson, explained that they wish to offer a much broader perspective to be relevant as a forest company. When it comes to collaborating, Södra looks for startups that drive innovation to the forest farm. 

“That includes smart business models for tourism, for instance, but also ideas within carbon rights and biodiversity and there are many ideas that include drones, AI and systems that give you better information on how to manage the forest. Anything that makes the forest life better,” he says.

Building successful strategic partnerships

Beleco, Combify, Biofiber Tech, IPercept Technology, Mavenoid and Thermaiscan Technology were the startups that took to the stage during the evening to share the lessons learned from their collaborations with corporates.

“It is extremely important for us to qualify our customers based on their improvement culture and openness for disruptive innovation. We aim to build up strategic partnerships, where we can scale up and supply our technology for hundreds of machines. In order to invest into these partnerships from our side, we need to make sure that the right improvement culture is given, so that we will have the conditions to scale up.”says IPercept CEO, Karoly Szipka.

Biofiber Tech’s CEO, Eric Zhang, highlighted the importance of strategic fitness.

“It is important that you can align your strategy, whether it is product or market, with the corporate’s strategy. You need to get their commitment. If the corporate wants to do it at the top strategic level, you will get their commitment sooner or later,” he says.

Károly Szipka
Károly Szipka (IPercept)

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