We at Combient Foundry have been busy analyzing our completed Venture Client cycles. Our aim is to improve the on-going one based on the startups’ feedback. Here are some highlights from three of our public cases with 20tree.ai, Kaltiot, and Sixgill and their thoughts on what they gained.
20tree.ai: A New Standard for Planet Intelligence
20tree.ai proposed their solution to us for the chance to work with an industry leader they could learn from. They teamed up with Stora Enso, a global provider of pulp and paper, to utilize satellite imagery in their business.
“The focus on direct value for both the startup and the client made us apply,” says Indra den Bakker, 20tree.ai Co-founder and Deep Learning Engineer.
Co-operation between an AI startup and large 700-year-old corporation might sound like a tall order. However, Foundry’s structured Venture Client approach assisted in matching both parties’ expectations. Beyond that, the structured workflow helped in reaching their common goal.
“By working at a concrete business case directly with Stora Enso, it has been possible to develop an MVP with feedback from Stora Enso’s decision-makers,” Indra says. “This all done in 9 weeks, from the first introduction to our final presentation.”
The new solution is improving on Stora Enso’s purchasing process by taking advantage of satellite imagery and machine learning. Furthermore, The wide-scale implementation has put 20tree.ai well on the way on becoming the standard in planet intelligence. Their roadmap includes developing forest intelligent features further in addition to creating new features related to soil and water intelligence.
“We would highly recommend other startups to participate in a Venture Client Cycle,” Indra says. “When you can address a real business need for the customer, we would not hesitate to apply.”
Kaltiot: Taking Advantage of the Entire Combient Network
KONE Corporation is best known for its elevators and escalators. The team had identified the need to source for solutions that make radical changes possible outside of its own boundaries.
“Startups and entrepreneurs have shown us how passion and agility can bring new innovation to our industry much faster,” says Visa Friström, Head of Partnership Development at KONE.
KONE embarked on the journey with Kaltio Technologies (a.k.a. Kaltiot), an IoT tracking startup. The solution they developed was piloted at the largest construction site in Finland with KONE experts and business leaders. KONE was impressed by the experienced team, strong track-record, and the solution that aligned well with KONE’s own aims.
Ville Heikkilä, Kaltiot’s VP of Sales and Marketing, became enthusiastic about Foundry for its clear focus on co-creating scalable projects with global companies in a structured and lean manner. The model suited Kaltiot’s growth targets too.
During the Venture Client Cycle, Kaltiot had a chance to demonstrate its solution to other Combient member firms such as Stora Enso. KONE and Kaltiot will continue developing their solution co-created during the Venture Client Cycle. Who knows if there are future projects in store with other companies too?
Sixgill: Scaling a Proof-of-Concept to a Long-Term Commercial Partnership
Sixgill works on a universal IoE data platform. They were drawn to the fresh format of the Venture Client Cycle, which suited them as a growing startup.
“We were all struck by the uniqueness of Combient Foundry,” says Adam Phillips, Sixgill’s VP of Business Development. “Solution-specific collaboration directly with a global innovation leader like KONE is a rare opportunity, indeed.”
Combient Foundry was Sixgill’s first experience of what might be called a ‘startup program’. They found the format not only valuable but also enjoyable.
“By working shoulder-to-shoulder with KONE on the development of a real-world proof of concept, we gained great insight into the Smart Construction market and the solutions our platform can deliver,” Adam comments. “We tackled one of KONE’s problem sets, and have the potential to evolve this proof-of-concept into a long-term commercial licensing arrangement of our Sense platform.”
What most impressed Sixgill about the process, was the level of engagement KONE brought to the project.
“All KONE stakeholders were engaged and offered key guidance every step of the way,” he says. “I feel Foundry’s Venture Client approach is a perfect fit for startups that are slightly later stage (Series A or B) with financial resources, and are ready for market validation.”
“I don’t see anyone doing this at the Nordic level as Combient is doing it!” Adam, who we met again at #slush18, exclaimed in a subsequent interview.
About the companies
20tree.ai is a planet intelligence startup that leverages artificial intelligence, satellite imagery, and computing power. Currently, they provide forest intelligence that helps corporates, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and governments to combat deforestation and make forest management more sustainable and efficient.
Kaltiot develops a unique IoT tracking solution that utilizes existing infrastructure, works both indoors and outdoors, and can be used to securely share data between organizations. The solution can track assets or people at construction sites and unstructured logistics chains, as well as varying environmental conditions, such as temperature and humidity. The technological roots of Kaltiot can be traced back to Nokia and Microsoft, where a number of Kaltiot’s key players had major engineering business development roles.
Sixgill enables the governance of all IoE connected assets – people, places and things – with a universal sensor data platform for easier, faster and more flexible application development. With its unique combination of technology and services, Sixgill provides customers with continuous sensor data collection, real-time understanding of what assets are available, where they are, their operating state, all while keeping assets, behaviors and actions on track.
Cover photo & Social media photo by Petri Anttila, Slush Small Talks Stockholm 2018