In November last year IKEA announced the second edition of the startup program IKEA Bootcamp, a program with the aim to work with 20 growth-stage startups. A world tour and an application site generated over 1100 applications from 62 countries and after a selection process, 18 startups have been chosen to join the program in Älmhult, starting end of March.
The innovation approach has its starting point in the vision – To create a better everyday life for the many people – and in the IKEA values where renew and improved as well as togetherness are core. In a changing world it’s important to co-create with others, in order to find sustainable solutions for the many people The foundation of IKEA Bootcamp has been to find startups that not only share the IKEA vision but can innovate around solving three challenges connected to the IKEA direction; affordability for the many people, connecting with and being accessible for people across the world, and enabling a positive impact on the planet, people and society.
“For us it is great to see that the vision that we are working towards is so relevant worldwide and we are so impressed by all the applicants and the quality of the startups that have applied to IKEA Bootcamp. To only select 18 startups out of 1112 has been incredible hard”, says Per Krokstäde, IKEA Bootcamp manager, at IKEA of Sweden. “We look to find startups where we will have a win-win-win situation”, Per continues, “Win for the IKEA customers, win for the startup, and win for IKEA”.
Throughout the process, the IKEA Bootcamp team has met very high-quality startup companies, and quickly discovered that there in some cases was a better fit to work with IKEA in a different capacity than in the Bootcamp programme. We are therefore looking at a handful of successful sidetrack opportunities as a cherry on top of the selection process. This year the applications came from 62 different countries like China, India, Denmark and Nigeria, besides this the diversity within the startups are great with truly multinational teams. The selected startups are in a growth-stage with the ambition to strengthen their business with support from Rainmaking Innovation and key people from IKEA in order to be a good fit to partner up with IKEA when the program ends. The purpose of IKEA Bootcamp is to make Pilots happen between IKEA and the startups.
“Throughout the process we have discovered so many talented entrepreneurs from all over the world working on important solutions, both for IKEA and society. We have seen a trend of startups that are focusing on customer experience and solutions around accessibility. We have also seen a lot of startups within sustainability and circular movements that can make a big change for the world”, says Michelle Hart, IKEA Bootcamp Programme Director from Rainmaking.
IKEA Bootcamp is a partnership between IKEA Range & Supply, responsible for product development and supply chain for IKEA worldwide and Ingka Group, strategic partner to the IKEA franchise system and the largest IKEA franchisee.
“It has been an excited journey to experience the wide range of innovative and inspiring solutions that the startups are building for the future of retail. We are certain that something great will come of our combined effort to meet customers’ needs in all aspects of life. We are relentlessly trying to create a more affordable, sustainable and exciting customer experience and we believe that collaboration with other is the key to success”, Davide Urani, Strategy, Development and Innovation manager, Ingka Group