Brazil Sweden Corporate Venture Initiative: Reaping good fruits

CISB kick-started the Brazil-Sweden Corporate Venture Initiative in July, which has already yielded results for the collaboration between the two countries. In order to connect startups to large companies, the program happened in two different ways: Brazilian companies going to Sweden to find Swedish startups; and Swedish organizations looking for technology-based startups in Brazil.

On the Brazilian side, the initiative had the participation of VALE and Suzano, from the mining industry and the pulp and paper industry, respectively. The participating Swedish companies were Saab AB and Saab Aeronáutica Montagens (SAM), looking for startups with potential application in the areas of aeronautics and sustainability. Despite acting in different sectors, they all had the same objective: to find innovative solutions to their technological needs and challenges.

In September, with the support of the National Association of Innovative Entities Promoting Innovative Enterprises (ANPROTEC), Brazilian startups participated in matchmaking sessions with the Swedish giants and were able to present their technologies and business models. “The Brazil Sweden Corporate Venture Initiative is a great CISB initiative to support the development of high-tech startups, promoting synergy with large companies,” says Alexandre Barandier Barbosa, Engineering Manager at SAM. “Seeing entrepreneurship and the sparkle in those young people's eyes was special,” he recalls.

From the matchmaking sessions, four startups were selected by Saab to go to Sweden and further discussions the partnership and business opportunity. Torbjörn Kivist, Innovation Manager at Saab Aeronautics and one of the startups' hosts in Sweden, highlight the organization of the visit. “It was very well planned. We had a whole day with the startups and it was a good opportunity to get to know them better. My expectations have been met.”

The Brazilian giants, in turn, visited different innovation hubs in Sweden during the Brazil-Sweden Innovation Week in September, aiming to match their needs and challenges with new technology, solutions and competence that can be provided by startups. With the support of Ignite Sweden and Sweden's innovation agency, Vinnova, 48 Swedish startups were selected and involved in the initiative. Suzano participated in visits and matchmaking sessions in cities such as Linköping, Stockholm, Malmö, Lund and Karlstad. VALE, in addition to participating in some mining events of the Innovation Week, visited hubs and startups in Stockholm, Malmö, Lund, Copenhagen and Gothenburg.

The initiative was so assertive that, according to Gisele Fidelis from Suzano's New Businesses, it is already possible to reap some results. “We are partnering with two hubs we have visited and in the phase of signing NDA (non-disclosure agreements) with some of the startups to continue the discussions started in Sweden,” said the executive.

Alexandre Barbosa also confirmed that Saab is already moving to the next level with Brazilian startups. “We are in the final selection phase, with more detailed technical analysis. The results, although preliminary, lead us to believe that future partnerships between startups and Saab will be fruitful,” he hopes. Torbjörn Kivist adds, "In this particular case we have found a good match.”

Due to the satisfactory results, CISB has already started planning the initiative for 2020, which will take place in November and will be part of the institution's 10th anniversary celebrations in May 2021.