Scania Playbook for Driving Results in Startup Partnering

Scania as a Combient Foundry member since 2019

Scania, a world-leading provider of transport solutions with over 58,000 employees across more than 100 countries, is spearheading the transition towards sustainable transportation systems. In response to technological shifts, new business models, and the digital revolution, Scania is exploring innovative avenues in production, logistics, and customer solutions. A pivotal strategy involves setting partnerships with top startups and tech firms to establish scalable commercial collaborations that accelerate transformation within the transport and logistics sector. A key enabler of this journey has been Scania’s membership at Combient Foundry since 2019.

Scania’s Setup for Effective Startup Partnering

Scania’s startup partnership initiatives, including its relationship with Combient Foundry, are centralized under Venture Collaboration operations within the Scania Innovation Office. The efforts are led by Jonas Gustafsson, Senior Venture Collaboration Manager at Scania. 

Key practices include navigating internal stakeholders, identifying strategic external innovation needs, ensuring organizational readiness and project resourcing, as well as validating robust business cases for launched projects with Combient Foundry. To enhance collaboration with startups and growth companies, Scania has streamlined startup purchasing processes, featuring lightweight contracts, dedicated purchasing contacts, and funding programs. 

By systematically applying these best practices, Scania effectively taps into the startup ecosystem through Combient Foundry, thereby improving project success potential and accelerating the adoption of new solutions and technologies within the organization.

A Balanced Project Portfolio with a Global Selection of Top Startups and Growth Companies

Scania’s collaboration with startups through Combient Foundry has so far centered around strategic priorities such as autonomous systems, electrification, connectivity, logistics, production, and sustainability. The current project portfolio consists of the following business development needs:

  • Approximately 55% of initiated projects focus on process innovation, which increases efficiency or reduces costs, with Scania being the end customer.
  • About 25% of projects involve product innovation directly related to Scania’s offerings.
  • Around 20% of projects aim to establish new business accounts, representing the most complex initiatives in the portfolio with significant long-term business impact potential.

Scania’s global outreach through Combient Foundry has successfully attracted and evaluated over 1,200 unique solution proposals from high-quality startups and growth companies across major continents and startup hubs. The United States stands out as the largest single startup country for Scania, with Israel also making a significant impact relative to its size in key tech areas for Scania. 

For the launched business opportunities, Scania has engaged with more than 80 vetted startups in mutual value proposition and pilot project exploration workshops, facilitated by Combient Foundry. On average, these startups employ around 30 full-time equivalents (FTEs) and have raised a median funding of over $4 million, ready for rapid growth together with Scania.

Scania’s Success Factors for Effective Project Implementation

Among the projects launched with Combient Foundry so far, Scania has achieved an overall implementation rate of approximately 45%, with a success rate of about 60% for completed pilot projects. Based on Scania’s experience, process innovation projects have shown the highest short-term implementation success, especially those related to production, achieving an impressive implementation rate of around 70%. This is due to the strong cultural empowerment of improvement within Scania. 

Scania has experienced significant value in encouraging internal stakeholders to engage with Combient Foundry, fostering a culture of “startup thinking” and a keen interest in leveraging external innovation. Former participants in Combient Foundry initiatives often return to address new business challenges, underscoring the program’s proven utility and results.

We have identified the levers we can pull to drive good results through the different stages of Venture Client operation. During our time working with Combient Foundry, we have learned how a shared understanding and well-defined scope for business needs, streamlined procurement processes and stakeholder involvement can yield impressive returns.

– Jonas Gustafsson, Senior Venture Collaboration Manager at Scania

Case Study – Applied Intuition

A notable example of the power of startup collaboration is Scania’s partnership with Applied Intuition to develop simulation environments for autonomous vehicles. This major partnership, initiated with Combient Foundry, enabled Scania to accelerate its autonomous software development by a factor of eight. For more on this collaborative journey, read here.

Conclusion

Scania’s structured approach to commercial startup partnering through Combient Foundry has proven effective in driving innovation and achieving tangible business results. By systematically fostering strategic venture collaborations with startups, bolstered by problem-solving-centred approaches, streamlined processes, and dedicated capabilities, Scania continues to lead the charge towards a sustainable future in transport.

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