EVolution was a 3-day event held in Munich, Germany on November 9-11, 2022. The goal was to create a fast-paced, intense opportunity for Essity and seven startups to work together, learn, connect and ultimately drive towards potential pilots and strategic partnerships. We were thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Essity and Essity Ventures on this initiative.
Big companies can’t solve every problem on their own. And startups often need leverage to help them validate their solutions and scale. Together corporate-startup collaboration can work, and EVolution proved that.
Prior to the event, Highline Beta and Essity Ventures sought out great, early-stage startups in a few key challenge areas, with a focus on improving the health and hygiene of consumers. Out of the applications, seven startups were selected including Egal, Sonny, L+B+, Yonicore, Planet MUTU, roura and GlucoVibes. At the event, each startup was paired with several Essity employees, domain experts in a variety of subjects, including health and hygiene, branding, marketing, product development, and e-commerce. Facilitators, with experience in Design Thinking and Lean Startup worked closely with each team to support them, while they identified opportunities to explore between the startups and Essity, identify risks and validate assumptions.
Although the event was only 3-days, a lot of work went into it from Highline Beta and Essity Ventures. Our goal was to ensure that tangible, meaningful results came out of the event, avoiding “innovation theater.” We have a lot of experience running corporate-startup activations, including pilot-focused programs and corporate venture building, and often leverage our expertise in innovation frameworks to bridge the gaps between how big companies and startups operate.
“In Highline Beta we found a great partner! With their vast experience in the venturing space and their committed team, they were the driving forces for bringing EVolution to life!”– Kai Thornagel, Director at Essity Ventures
On the last day of EVolution, teams pitched their ideas to a panel of judges. Teams needed to demonstrate the problem, pilot solution (how the startup and Essity would work together), go-to-market, and market potential. The judges included senior executives and external industry experts, who ultimately chose three startups that will receive funding and resources to launch in-market validation pilots with Essity in 2023. The winners included:
Planet MUTU: Evidence-based digital exercise programme and web app for mothers to gain confidence and control in how their body works and feels after childbirth.
Roura: A wearable app changing the way women combat period pain.
Egal: Pads on a roll to manage menstruation privately in public places.
To learn more about the winning startups visit the Essity EVolution page here.
“The whole team did incredible work organizing the event. It was extremely professional and intense while allowing time to enjoy with colleagues and partners. We will be working closely with the three startup winners, and continue to engage with the other startups as well. I also want to echo the excellent feedback from Essity participants, they were stimulated with ideas and possibilities for their brands and businesses and will become ambassadors across our organization. I hope this is just the beginning of the journey, and we will find many more opportunities to collaborate with startups in the future!”– José Ramón Iracheta, Vice President Commercial Training & Strategic Projects
Essity EVolution is just the beginning. Going forward, Essity will work closely with the winning startups to jointly launch the pilot concepts in 2023. The goal will be to validate the pilots in-market and explore the potential for future scale.
“Pursuing open innovation in a meaningful way is no easy task. The team at Essity has the right mindset, tools and resources to, together with stellar startups, drive forward innovative solutions that can improve the health and well-being of people everywhere and we’re thrilled to be part of their journey in doing so.”– Ben Yoskovitz, Founding Partner
To learn more about Highline Beta’s open innovation services and how we can help you identify and capitalize on new opportunities including various corporate-startup activations you can connect directly with our Founding Partner Ben Yoskovitz, or our Director of Marketing & Global Recruitment, Veronica Malinski.