In the last several years, we’ve seen major home, tech and food brands reach out to the startup community in the form of VC funds and accelerators to try and harness the massive innovation taking place in their markets. From General Mills, Kellogg and Google, companies are looking at hot areas like food, agriculture and housewares to find the disrupters to bring into their ecosystems.
IKEA, the maker of popular furniture and home goods – and most recently, smart lighting products – is getting into the mix, announcing the IKEA Bootcamp for startups looking to solve the world’s “Big Problems.” It’s clear IKEA is looking to cultivate and support entrepreneurs in hot innovative areas right now – including IoT, virtual reality, chatbots, food tech, drones and Big Data.
The Swedish home design conglomerate is no stranger to pursuing partnerships in search of the next big thing; last year they worked with IDEO and design students School of Industrial Design at the Ingvar Kamprad Design Centre at Lund University to come up with the Concept Kitchen 2025, a prototype of what kitchens of the future might look like.
“We are looking for startups to help us solve the IKEA ‘Big Problems’ around being truly affordable for the many people, reaching and interacting with the many, and enabling a positive impact on the planet, people and society.” -IKEA
The perks IKEA is offering startups are pretty enticing – fifteen companies will be selected to work and live in Almhult, Sweden with a stipend of 20,000 EU and free housing from September through December. Selected innovators will work in IKEA’s prototype shop and test labs and be able to tap into expertise within the IKEA Range & Supply group.
They’ll also have access to workshops, courses and mentorships from senior IKEA global business leaders. And maybe most appealing? IKEA is not looking to take any equity in accelerator startups but rather see it as an opportunity to collaborate, saying “We may end up being a customer, licensing your technology or even investing in your company, but first and foremost we want you to be working on the Big Problems and to share our vision to create a better everyday life for the many people.”
Applications are due August 6 to be part of the fall cohort, which runs from September 8 to December 18.
Are you a startup in food tech or the smart kitchen? Apply to demo at the Smart Kitchen Summit in the Startup Showcase on October 10 and 11 in Seattle, WA. Selected finalists will receive an opportunity to showcase their innovation to decision makers across tech, food, housewares and appliances, retail and commerce.
Apply by August 15 for a chance at a spot at the only event in North America dedicated to the future of food, cooking + the kitchen.