10 Sprints and counting: fostering corporate startup collaboration

10 Sprints and counting: fostering corporate startup collaboration

Emmi Kaipio, Director of Sprints

Emerald Sprints were established to foster collaboration between corporations and the most innovative startups in their industry. Sprints accelerate the process of finding the most suitable startups to start tangible collaborations for specific business development needs. As our partners have set ambitious goals towards net zero, Sprints are an important tool to help reach those objectives.

Key Numbers:

  • 60+ participating companies
  • 170 startups have been shortlisted and introduced
  • 140+ collaboration discussion meetings, which led to startup pilots, Proof of Concept (PoC) projects and investments in some of the startups

Key elements of Emerald Sprints

Sessions: Group sprints consist of joint sessions for corporations to find synergies with each other, as learning from others greatly enhances the outcomes of these experiences. Additionally, there is an individual process for each corporate to define their business challenge and to connect and engage with the most relevant startups.

Overcoming hurdles: The sprints address the most common internal hurdles in corporate innovation: engaging with the wider organization and business units, finding relevant deal flow, and getting to concrete next steps from startup introductions.

Attendees: Emerald Sprints are available for Emerald Limited Partners. If you would like to sample a sprint experience, this can be offered for select visiting companies.

Deep knowledge: Our sector specialists conduct extensive analysis of startups in our focus areas. This gives us in-depth knowledge of the startup landscape, which leads to high quality curation of relevant startups for each topic.

Examples of recent corporate startup collaborations:

  • A Packaging Company began testing samples from a functional coatings startup.​
  • A Mining Company started a proof-of-concept (PoC) project to capture carbon in a challenging process environment with strict criteria on carbon content, technical performance, and economics.​
  • An Oil and Gas Company began the process of investing in a waste analytics startup.​
  • A Food & Beverage Company is planning a collaboration with a waste traceability startup.​

Recent sprint topics:

  • CARBON: Next generation CCUS solutions; Direct air & ocean capture; carbon accounting
  • ENERGY: Power-to-fuel pathways; synfuels & synergies with seasonal storage; sustainable aviation fuels (SAF)
  • ELECTRIFICATION: Industrial electrification; industrial scale long duration energy storage (LDES); electric motors & actuations
  • WATER: Water treatment in lithium extraction
  • CIRCULARITY: Packaging waste, traceability, analytics & recyclability; Chemical recycling
  • PACKAGING: Sustainable packaging materials innovation; Functional coatings & adhesives

Tailored Sprints for urgent development needs

Due to increased demand for open innovation services like Sprints, we have started offering tailored sprints for one corporation at a time to work on urgent innovation topics.

In these projects, we work closely with one corporate to define their business challenge and then match them with the most relevant potential collaboration startup partners for their topic. These projects have resulted in investment considerations and technology development collaborations.

Up next:

Group sprints:

  • Sustainable Packaging: Design for end-of-life
  • Energy: decentralized load balancing and grid debottlenecking

Tailored sprints:

  • Water treatment
  • Direct Air Capture

If you are a corporate looking for solutions to your development needs or if you wish to have trial access to one of our coming group sprints, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Emmi Kaipio or Charles Vaslet.