Startup accelerators designed to bolster support for the low-carbon transition seem to be popping up almost daily — within the last two months alone, H&M, Levi Strauss, Plug & Play, Target and even the Vatican — yes, the Vatican — have kicked off programs to fund a wide range of sustainable innovations. The latest initiative to join the ranks comes as a result of a partnership between IKEA and Rainmaking, a global cooperative of entrepreneurs who run startups and innovation programs in more than 40 countries.
Dubbed IKEA Bootcamp, the program runs from September 18 until December 8, 2017 and will see ten startups create solutions for three challenges identified by IKEA: creating products that are truly affordable, accessible and have a positive impact on the planet and society.
“We believe that the IKEA scale and impact merged with our network and experience from building startups and innovation programs will provide a great environment for the startups. The program will help them speed up their development and create innovative products and services that truly have a positive effect on people’s lives,” said Alex Farcet, Partner at Rainmaking.
IKEA’s Range & Supply Democratic Design Center will serve as the home base for the ten selected startups, where they will have access to the prototype shop, test labs and IKEA’s Range & Supply innovation engineers, innovation and creative leaders and value chain experts. Each startup will also be paired with a senior global IKEA business leader as a lead mentor and will have access to mentorship and advice from Rainmaking’s global network of entrepreneurs and experts.
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The accelerator is open to early-stage startups from all around the world. Startups will address IKEA’s three “Big Problems” by working through disruptive technologies, customer experience and retail, disruptive design, sustainability, food innovation, manufacturing, supply chain and logistics, systems and analytics.
Selected startups will receive a grant of €20,000 to develop their product and startup and free housing in Sweden for the duration of the program. At the end of the program, startups will present their progress and business to IKEA and external investors at the IKEA Bootcamp Demo Day taking place in mid-December.
Throughout the program, IKEA will examine opportunities to co-create with the startups and the program could lead to licensing of new technologies or further investments. IKEA will not take equity in participating startups.