Written by Linnea Palmertz
December 1, 2022
10 Swedish Corporate Ventures
While Sweden is well renowned for its flourishing startup scene, how does it fare in terms of corporate ventures? In our experience, combining corporate assets with the speed and agility of a startup significantly increases the likelihood of building a successful business. To prove our point, we have compiled a list of ten corporate ventures from Sweden that have mastered this balancing act to create new, innovative businesses.
What is a corporate venture?
Let’s start by defining what a corporate venture is. There are many options available to corporations wanting to launch new innovative initiatives. For the purpose of this list, we have chosen to define corporate ventures as new business initiatives that are established with a designated team working separately from the parent company, e.g. in the structure of a corporate-owned startup or just a team that is autonomous in key decisions related to developing the venture. By working independently, the corporate venture can benefit from the speed and agility of acting like a startup while simultaneously being able to leverage corporate assets. A best-of-both-worlds-approach, if you ask us.
The List: 10 Swedish corporate ventures
…that you probably didn’t know were born within some of Sweden’s largest organizations.
1. C3 Technologies
As a spinoff of defense and security company Saab, C3 Technologies provides 3D data to consumer markets using Saab’s 3D mapping technology. The corporate venture, which was founded already in 2008, was acquired by Apple in 2011 to further develop Apple Maps. The exit generated a capital gain of approximately MSEK 906 for its parent company Saab.
2. GAIA Gen
How much do you know about green software development? Chances are GAIA Gen, an early initiative established under Scania, knows a lot more. In an interactive platform, they can calculate the CO2 emissions from your organization’s IT infrastructure and help you drastically lower both emissions and costs all at once.
Humla is a FinTech startup building the next generation of financial services and loyalty products drawing on the brand portfolio of its parent company, Axel Johnson Group. Its first product, the Humla debit card, is built upon the SEBx baking-as-a-service platform, which is another corporate venture within the FinTech sphere.
Hybrit is a joint venture between the three large industrial firms Vattenfall, SSAB and LKAB. The venture is on a mission to reinvent the Swedish iron and steel industry and pioneer fossil-free steel production. It’s an ambitious initiative to reduce the CO2 emissions throughout the entire value chain, all the way from extracting the mine to the use of electricity.
InCharge is the energy company Vattenfall’s initiative to develop an allround charging solution for electric vehicles (EV). The vision is to provide green electricity to EV owners no matter where they charge – at their homes, workplaces or on the road. It started out as a project team of ten people within Vattenfall, and now the venture has now grown to over 100 people in five countries and in seven offices.
6. Lynk & Co
This joint venture between Volvo Cars and Geely offers a different approach to car ownership than we are used to. In essence, Lynk & Co is a car manufacturer (part of the benefit of being a Volvo Cars venture), but it differs from traditional car companies by offering customers the option to either buy, rent, or subscribe to their cars on a monthly basis.
Home appliances giant Electrolux formed the venture Nexure as an attempt to re-establish a direct-to-consumer (D2C) offering and leverage opportunities in technology and services. What started as an extended warranty offering for Electrolux’s products turned into a digital innovation platform that can be used for any D2C service to handle payment solutions, subscriptions and analytics.
Within the walls of perhaps the most Swedish company in the world, IKEA, the idea of a subscription-based office furniture service was born. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Nornorm was established and former IKEA manager Anders Jepsen stepped in as CEO to reinvent the way businesses create workplaces. They anticipated what we all know today; that the future of work will be different from what it has been.
The urban logistics venture Smoovit emerged out of Volvo Group Connected Solutions Innovation Labs – the corporate venturing arm of Volvo focusing on transport and infrastructure solutions. In collaboration with several partners including Vinnova, Gothenburg City and DHL, Smoovit is consolidating goods across multiple transport providers and building a system to optimize truck loads and reduce traffic and pollution in city centers.
Travis, part of the Nordics’ largest public transport company Nobina, develops mobility apps that integrate public transit and other mobility solutions from multiple providers in one place. By developing a Maas-solution, Nobina has been able to stay relevant and continues to be a key player in the new mobility environment of constantly evolving technologies and services.