The Foundry Approach 02.11.2023

Value Proposition Days: FAQ

The Value Proposition Days (VPD) are the most important event in the Foundry calendar. It’s the setting for startups and corporations to meet face-to-face for the first time to base eventual partnership discussions. This post collects all the frequently asked questions from participants in one place.


What is the VPD event? 

At the end of each Foundry Cycle, executives of the Foundry member companies, world-class growth companies, and top-tier investors gather for two days for thought-provoking discussions, business partnerships, and networking. As a two-day event, most of the VPD consists of 1-on-1 meetings between selected solution provider companies and the Combient corporate teams. On the evening of the first day, we organize a networking dinner event with world-class speakers talking about innovation, scaling solutions, and industrial needs.

What is the Foundry Cycle?

The Foundry Cycle is our name for the structured process, where we launch new business opportunities for startups three times a year, including the evaluation and selection of partners for scalable pilot projects from a global benchmark of solution providers willing to solve the needs at hand. This is done together with our member companies, whose business units share their strategic needs to advance them by working together with growth companies.

What is the purpose of the VPD? 

The purpose is to work together to identify and formulate the greatest mutual value for collaboration between the corporate and the selected startups. The VPD is not a typical sales or pitching event. Instead, it is a joint exploration of a business partnership. Furthermore, the event allows additional cross-pollination of solutions by connecting with like-minded professionals and exploring potential collaboration opportunities with other Combient network companies.

What is the desired outcome of the VPD? 

The desired outcome of the two days is a clear joint value proposition that addresses the business need of the Foundry member company you work with, a high-level pilot project frame to outline how you would start fulfilling the value proposition, and a vision for long-term business collaboration. 

The VPD Workshops

What is the structure of the VPD Workshops?

Please find below the high-level plan for the two workshops, one for each day. The sessions are aimed to be conversational and explorative, the end goal being to create a mutual understanding of how you could work with them. The Foundry team will communicate the exact agenda and schedules and send calendar invites to your team before the event.

Day 1: ~1-hour workshop with the corporate team

Understanding the startup solution and capabilities in-depth and mapping a joint value proposition that addresses the business need - “Why should we work together?”

~20 min In-depth demo/presentation from startup + Q&A, including a draft solution tailored for the business need ~30 min Discussion to map a joint value proposition ~10 min Listing open questions and focus for the Day 2 workshop

Examples of key questions to answer

  • Solution fit against business need

  • Technical feasibility & solution scalability

  • Collaboration gains and associated risks

  • Collaboration capabilities

  • Team expertise and dynamics

Day 2: ~1-hour workshop to build on discussions from Day 1

Continuing the previous discussion to define a joint value proposition and scoping an outline for a pilot project that fulfills the value proposition - “How do we create unique value?”

~10 min Presentation from the startup team outlining a value proposition and a draft pilot project proposal based on the earlier discussion ~10 min Presentation Q&A and Day 1 open questions ~30 min Discussion to jointly finetune the value proposition and pilot project outline ~10 min Concluding the VPD discussions and agreeing on the contents of the Final Delivery

Examples of key questions to answer

  • Pilot use case(s) and scope

  • Pilot KPIs or success metrics

  • Pilot timelines

  • Roles, contributions, and required resources

  • Pricing & business model

  • Long-term collaboration opportunities & models

The workshops will be facilitated between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM (local time) on both days. The exact workshop times are communicated via a calendar invite. Please note that the workshop agenda is subject to changes and might be altered to suit the specific subject matter. In these cases, information will be communicated ahead of the event.

What are the preparatory sessions before the VPD?

“Case Introduction and Q&A Call” with the corporate team

Typically, 1-2 weeks before the VPD event. The goal of the call is to introduce you to the corporate case team and vice versa, allow you to learn more about the business opportunity directly from the corporate team to clarify any open questions you may have, and help you begin preparing your targeted value proposition for the VPD workshops. The agenda typically includes a ~30-minute joint introduction session in the beginning for all selected solution providers for the business opportunity, followed by ~25-minute 1-on-1 Q&A slots between each solution provider and the corporate team. The Combient Foundry team will share a calendar invite with exact details on the date as well as the agenda and timetable of the call.

“VPD Briefing Webinar for Startups” with Combient Foundry team

Typically, it is about one week before the VPD event. The goal of the webinar is to help all selected solution providers prepare ahead of the Value Proposition Days, share important event information, practicalities, and best practices to make the most out of the VPD event and the workshops, and increase your likelihood of landing a pilot project. During the webinar, there are opportunities for Q&A. The materials discussed during the webinar will be shared offline before or after the event. In case you are not able to participate in the seminar, a video recording can also be shared afterward on request.

How do I prepare for the VPD workshops?

For the Day 1 workshop, solution providers are asked to prepare a ~15-minute demo/presentation, including a draft solution tailored to the business opportunity. We would ask to include at least the following aspects (subject to changes to be communicated by the Foundry team):

Demo (or slides)

  • Draft solutions tailored for the business need

  • Technical capabilities & solution scalability

Support slides

  • Relevant field experience/references

  • Collaboration capabilities, incl. customization

  • Project team

  • Any other relevant information

The corporate and Foundry team already knows your high-level company and solution information. Therefore, your presentation should focus on any novel or tailored info for the business opportunity. You should utilize the collected background knowledge about the business opportunity, including the preparatory “Case Introduction and Q&A Call” with the corporate team before the VPD event (see above).

How to make the most out of the VPD workshops? 

  • Preparation is Key:

    • Adequate preparation enhances your chances of success in landing a deal.

  • Mindset and Relationship Building:

    • Approach the workshops with an open perspective.

    • Focus on common ground and corporate needs.

    • Build trust and show empathy toward the corporate team’s needs and concerns.

  • Effective Communication:

    • Discuss your solutions and collaboration opportunities practically.

    • Avoid jargon and provide concrete examples or use cases.

  • Efficient Workshop Management:

    • Make the most of the tight workshop schedule by concentrating on key agenda points.

  • Balancing Tech and Business:

    • Don't delve too deeply into technical details; discuss also the business aspects.

    • It is recommended to mention ballpark estimates of pilot project costs and required resources to avoid later misalignments.

What happens between the workshops? 

Apart from the evening program, there is no additional official agenda between the meetings. Between the sessions, you may work on your value proposition, prepare for the next workshop, or focus on other work. The open space at the meeting venue is freely at your disposal. Also, lunch will be served on both days, along with coffee and light snacks in the afternoons.

Final Deliveries

What is the Final Delivery? 

To conclude the VPD meetings, we invite the solution providers to submit presentation slides in PDF format, summarizing your final value proposition, as well as any materials presented during the VPD meetings. The Foundry team will collect the deliveries from solution providers via email and share them with the corporate team. The deadline for the Final Delivery is typically a few working days after the VPD, and the exact date for the deadline will be communicated to you closer to the event.

In addition, we accept any further material you find helpful for the decision-making process. The Final Delivery materials support the corporate team in their internal decision-making. In addition, the materials can be shared with other Combient Foundry companies, giving you additional exposure to decision-makers in large Nordic companies. 

What are the content and format requirements for the Final Delivery? 

Due to the variability of the cases and potential solutions, we do not have strict content requirements for the Final Delivery. Overall, we hope you summarize your discussions from the VPD workshops and present at least the following:

  • Clear value proposition tailored to the needs of the corporate

  • Pilot project outline describing how you would get started in fulfilling the value proposition

  • Pricing and business model, including an estimate for a pilot project

  • Describe your team’s fit and vision for further collaboration

If more specific content and format requirements for the Final Delivery will be discussed during the VPD, please follow those instructions instead.

As the objective of the Final Delivery is mainly to summarize and document the workshop discussions to the corporate team, and the decisions will still be mainly made based on the meetings, please note that we do not expect you to spend too much time preparing the materials.

Where should I upload my Final Delivery? 

We kindly ask you to send your presentation slides in PDF format to the Combient Foundry team via email by a specified deadline that will be communicated to you in advance. Please name your files with your company name.

Participating in the VPD

Who will be present at the VPD workshops? 

Key decision-makers and industry experts will be participating in the workshops. The list of workshop participants can be shared upon request. Combient Foundry team members will also be present in the workshops. To summarize, the VPD workshops will be held only between the corporate team, Combient Foundry, and your company’s team members. While your solution might be primarily targeted at just one of the Combient companies, we highly encourage you also to take the opportunity to network with the other participating corporate representatives during the VPD event. 

How many representatives from my company can participate? 

The invitation for the VPD in Stockholm is open to two (2) people from the selected startups. However, we can accommodate more people from your team remotely via Zoom teleconferencing.

Will Combient Foundry cover our travel expenses? 

Combient Foundry and its member companies consider the VPDs as customer acquisition and, as such, will not cover travel or accommodation expenses. This is a unique opportunity for you to simultaneously meet several Combient member companies. Please note that all the amenities during the event (work and meeting spaces, internet connection, lunch, etc.) will be covered.

Will I need a travel visa?

The VPD is held in Stockholm, Sweden, or Helsinki, Finland. Both countries are members of the EU and part of the Schengen Area. If you can travel to the Schengen countries without a visa, you will not need one for the VPDs. If visa-free travel does not apply, you must get a Schengen visa before traveling to the VPD event. If you need to apply for a visa for travel, Combient Foundry can provide a certificate stating the reason for the visit and who you will be meeting.

Please read more about travel instructions to the Schengen countries on their official website here.

The Pilot Project

How many companies will be offered a pilot project? 

The amount of pilot projects is not limited by number. Ultimately, the corporate team will decide who they want to work with. Commonly, the number of pilot projects has ranged between 1 and 2.

When will we know whether I am offered a pilot project? 

The Foundry team will communicate the final decision typically about two weeks after VPD. However, the exact timetable is subject to case-specific changes.

What is the scope of the pilot project? 

It is up to you and the corporate team to scope the pilot project, including KPIs, deliverables, schedule, roles, responsibilities, and fees. Financially, the previous pilot projects have typically ranged from a few thousand euros to €75k.

What is the objective of the pilot project? 

In case a pilot project will be offered to you after the Final Delivery post-VPD, the objective of a pilot project is to validate your solution so that the technology works as planned, the value is delivered, and the solution can be implemented on a larger scale. In addition, the pilot evaluates how the collaboration between you and the corporate team goes and whether there is a cultural match to deepen the relationship. Typically, a pilot project lasts a maximum of three months and focuses on testing existing technologies and examining prototypes in a Foundry member corporate context.

What are the decision criteria for those who will be offered a purchase order agreement? 

The corporate team will ultimately base the decision on the business fit of your value proposition formulated during the VPD and in the Final Deliverable (more info above). Your motivation in working with the corporate team also feeds into the final decision-making.

Should we sign a mutual non-disclosure agreement (NDA)? 

Typically, the corporates do not require signing an NDA for the VPD event. If you need to sign an NDA, please let the Foundry team know. We strongly recommend using the Combient Foundry standard mutual NDA template to speed up the signing process.