What happens after you win our start-up challenge?
The Dragon’s Den was just the beginning.
Hosted at Ericsson Studio earlier in September, the Ericsson Garage Start-up Challenge was designed to kick off our new partnership with Capital A Partners (CAP A) by giving nine finalists the chance to pitch – in a Dragons’-Den-style event – solutions focused on tackling ICT-related challenges based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Now three of those companies will start an eight-month journey at Ericsson Garage that will hopefully help them contribute to a smart, sustainable world.
Meet the winners of the Ericsson Garage Start-up Challenge
The grand prize winner was Hiveonline, a financial trust platform that provides a total small and micro business solution for routine tasks such as invoice payment, supply chain management and payroll. By automating these functions, it allows busy business owners to focus on their core business rather than administrative tasks.
Hiveonline – led by founder and CEO Sofie Blakstad – will now be fast-tracked to a fast-track investment meeting with Capital A (CAP A)/Butterfly and will also be involved in technology incubation with the global network of Ericsson Garages, as well as gaining unlimited access to our Urban ICT Arena – our smart city testbed – for one year. First place winners Vyer Technologies and Sensefarm also won incubation at one of our ten Ericsson Garages worldwide.
What happens during incubation at Ericsson Garage?
So what’s next for these three? No matter which location and how companies get in, the Ericsson Garage post-entry process is the same. For these three winners, we will offer technology incubation, business coaches, global market reach and IPR coaching. The three startups will get an individual incubation plan that best matches their special needs. We will also have a joint incubation process that will give the start-ups the chance to network through different workshops and seminars.
How do we usually work with ideas in the Garage? We work with short development cycles in close dialog with customers, users and partners, learning and pivoting fast with each new iteration of a minimum viable product to ensure the final version fulfills actual customer needs and pain points.
Once complete, the prototype is evaluated and tested on the industrial stage, then re-iterated until a viable product is ready. The user stays at the center of every decision made throughout this process. Each project takes under 12 months, and once complete it is time to meet the world. Whether this is investment through Ericsson or an external investor, it is the moment the idea becomes ready for commercialization and industrialization.
Innovation comes from all kinds of companies
In his opening speech, our CEO Börje Ekholm – who was one of the judges on the Dragon’s Den panel – summed up the purpose of Ericsson Garage: “A lot of innovation comes out of young companies. It comes out of individuals with great ideas, and that’s something we can bring into Ericsson … We can help the young company to globalize through our platform and technology. But we can also learn a lot from them.”
In follow-up posts, we will meet the founders of Hiveonline and then learn more about Vyer Technologies and Sensefarm.