This year, Combient Foundry has undergone Venture Client Cycles in China, onboarded three new Foundry members, and took on new kinds of business opportunities.
An eventual year is almost behind us. Through challenges and uncertainty, the Foundry team successfully took all major activities online to continue speeding up the time-to-market and co-creating new products and services. Let’s take a look back at what we’ve accomplished in 2020.
Tapping into China’s Innovation Ecosystem
In 2019, our teams visited Shanghai for the first time. Since those first steps, Foundry has taken leaps to connect member companies with the local ecosystem. KONE and Stora Enso set a goal to leverage what is known as ‘China speed’ in building and launching new products and services.
This happened by combining the existing local networks, know-how, and brand power of KONE and Stora Enso in China with Foundry’s proven approach for successful and scalable startup engagements. From the first cycle, we are happy to share that Stora Enso, with their client, are building MVP solutions with three startups. The early results and feedback from the teams is highly positive.
In late November, Foundry launched the on-going second China cycle, this time with opportunities from KONE. One of them touches on elevator passenger safety and the other on smart building environments. The ongoing cycle will continue until early 2021. The Foundry team is currently working towards setting up China Cycles also in 2021 – we will be back to tell you about the first cycle in the coming spring, once the setup is complete.
New and Familiar Faces
For Epiroc, collaboration is key in everything. The mining industry is an ecosystem, where all parties work together to digitize and create a more sustainable industry.
“Digitalization enables a big portion of productivity improvements for us,” said Helena Hedblom, CEO of Epirocat the Foundry LIVE event during the fall. She sees Foundry as an asset to strengthen Epiroc’s collaboration track record.
Automotive equipment and service providers, like Scania, are in the midst of multiple transformations: electric vehicles, self-driving cars, autonomous fleet management platforms, and logistics planning automatization are in high demand. To take advantage of these opportunities, large corporations can leverage innovations from the startup space.
“The industry is a long way from selling over-the-counter autonomous vehicles… we need to offer more specialized, efficient solutions and capture tech innovation outside of our current core,” Mikael Adelsberg, SVP Connected, Autonomous and Embedded systems at Scania, summarized at the Foundry LIVE event last spring.
The latest to join the group is Autoliv. They are the latest to join Foundry and will kick off their Venture Client work in 2021.
Taking on New Opportunities
This year featured three separate, global Foundry cycles. As part of them, we featured new types of opportunities for startups to submit their solutions. We explored these in the form of material innovation opportunities, and deepened customer co-creation.
Stora Enso has fielded business needs closely related to the digital transformation of their core operations. This year, we expanded into a new field with material innovation. The last cycle of this year featured business opportunities seeking startups developing new wood products and innovative food packaging. It is an important step in expanding the base of startups Foundry seeks clients for. We can expect more similar cases in the future.
KONE brought client co-creation to their venture client activities. In April, KONE with seven construction industry leaders, launched the smart building ecosystem KEKO, to create the world’s first smart building standard. The consortium provides data and analysis of the smart building environments collectively. With startups working on their own smart building solutions, the synergy benefits are potentially great.
The Foundry member companies are becoming increasingly attractive in the global innovation field. Moving forward, they are developing new ways to capture synergy benefits. The next stage is outlining mutual themes and megatrends that impact their strategic business areas.
For Autoliv, Epiroc, KONE, Scania, and Stora Enso, the setting at the end of the year is yet another example of what the network can accomplish. It serves as a promising example for all corporations everywhere on what a good approach for engaging with startups can produce.