The results of an international sustainability accelerator Rockit Impact launched in March show that the Lithuanian market is very favourable for the activities of sustainable start-ups. Typically, establishing close partnerships and achieving results can take up to several years for new B2B companies. The participants of Rockit Impact Accelerator were able to do it in less than four months.
The accelerator involved five pilot projects of cooperation between start-ups and large businesses: Swedbank, Telia, Linas Agro, Elektrum Lietuva and Telesoftas. The specialisation of start-ups from Switzerland, Sweden, Poland and Lithuania was renewable and green energy, smart cities, ecology, sustainable agriculture and finances. More than 200 start-ups applied for the accelerator program, most of them from foreign countries.
Greta Monstavičė, CEO of Katalista Ventures, the foundation and accelerator of sustainable start-ups and the organiser of Rockit Impact, said that start-ups find very favourable conditions for the development of ideas and products in Lithuania.
“Lithuanian companies must be competitive at the European level, because our market is very small. Therefore, they are dynamic, innovative and are ready to make decisions quickly. This is exactly what start-ups developing innovative products and services need. The results achieved within a few months through the accelerator program send a clear message to the global ecosystem of B2B start-ups,” said Ms. Monstavičė.
The distinguishing quality of the accelerator: sustainable solutions
During the course of the accelerator, a Swedish start-up Earthbanc and Swedbank were looking for ways to effectively measure CO2 emissions of several clients of the bank. Such self-assessment of customers will soon become very important. Global financial market trends show a significant turn toward sustainability, such as a rapid growth of foundations investing in sustainable companies. It is likely that soon loans will be issued only to sustainable businesses; therefore, the bank is already looking for ways of providing the clients with necessary tools.
During Rockit Impact, the Swiss start-up Elblox and Elektrum Lietuva tested two new products to be offered to customers. One of the products under development is a platform, which would facilitate the ordering of the supply of electricity produced by remote solar power stations.
The sensors produced by the Polish start-up Digital Crops have been installed and are already operating on the property of Linas Agro Group. These sensors capture a multitude of air and soil data. This provides additional opportunities for optimising the activities that require intensive use of farm machinery, such as the beginning of sowing, fertilising, watering and harvesting.
The Lithuanian start-up Datahood and Telia looked into specific needs of a dozen of different businesses and, using the contacts and anonymised data of the telecommunications company, Datahood is finalising the first contracts. Datahood analyses and proposes solutions for making different areas of the city more sustainable and convenient for local residents and helps the businesses to discover the potential of such places. This tool helps the businesses to bring services to residential neighbourhoods which are equivalent to the services provided in the city centre, thus reducing the people’s dependence on cars.
The company Telesoftas is at the final phase of developing the IT module necessary for the development of the Lithuanian start-up Cogastro. The start-up is developing an operating system for bug farms, a unique project in the world. The prospects of Cogastro product are confirmed by the recent win in the Startup Fair Pitch Battle.
Šarūnė Smalakytė, Head of Rockit, a fintech and sustainable innovation centre, said that Rockit Impact accelerator provided a fast and convenient way for large companies to try out B2B partnerships with start-ups. Meanwhile, the start-ups gained experience of cooperation with large partners and obtained proof that ideas are effective and competitive on the global level.
“Mutual benefit is obvious. This accelerator revealed the attractiveness of the Lithuanian companies by showing how the synergy between the new and experienced businesses actually works. It is also important that innovative products developed during the accelerator will be offered to Lithuanian residents,” said Ms. Smalakytė.
According to Ms. Smalakytė, this Rockit Impact accelerator was particularly successful and will be continued in the future, involving more companies from a wider range of industries and expanding the cooperation program.
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