Ikea wants you for its startup bootcamp

Ikea is more than the world’s largest furniture company these days. It has ventured into everything from fashion to electronics (and all things in between).
Now, Ikea will be inviting 20 startups to its campus for a three-month-long Ikea Bootcamp, hoping to incubate the next big breakthrough product right inside its Älmhult campus. Companies need to apply by December 31 to take part in the program, which starts in March 2019.
“Ikea is hoping to find partners that can help with the big challenges in creating a better everyday life at home for people all around the world, now and in the future,” writes Ikea representative Janice Simonsen in an email to Co.Design. “These challenges include ensuring affordability for the many people, connecting with and being accessible for people across the world, and enabling a positive impact on the planet, the people and society.”
[Photo: Ikea]
Ikea first announced a similar bootcamp in 2017, but in that inaugural year, partner companies collaborated remotely. Participants represented a wide range of interests, from the Israeli startup Flying Spark, which makes protein from fruit fly larvae, to the Swedish company Mimbly, which makes a water-recycling add-on for washing machines, to the U.K. paint-on-sensor company Bare Conductive, which is currently negotiating a product development deal with Ikea.
For its second Bootcamp, Ikea seems to be investing more into the program all around after learning from the pilot program. It will invite double the partner startups to be mentored in Bootcamp. And it will provide office space and living accommodations for the companies in Älmhult–as well as cover a majority of travel costs to get there. On top of all that, Ikea is promising not to waste anyone’s time if the program is a bad fit. “The participants will get a first indication of collaboration potential with Ikea after two weeks, meaning they will only dedicate a full three months if there’s a likelihood of partnering with Ikea,” says Simonsen.
In other words, participating startups better pile all the free meatballs onto their plates as fast as they can–which when you think about it, is important life advice whether you’re visiting Ikea or not.