Building a startup program with IKEA


To create an acceleration program where IKEA can engage with startups to solve problems relevant for their future business.


Together with IKEA we created IKEA Bootcamp: a three-month bespoke startup program with a dual focus on accelerating the startups and exploring formal collaboration with IKEA. Ten teams were selected out of 1300 applications from 86 countries.

A collaborative approach from day one

IKEA Bootcamp was fuelled by the IKEA curiosity in new ideas and belief that real, everyday challenges can only be solved in collaboration with the world outside.

The Bootcamp was customized to focus on IKEA’s three big problems: becoming more affordable, accessible and having a positive impact on people and planet.

From 1300 applications to 10 startups

Starting in April 2017, the first months of the project were spent scouting the globe for talented entrepreneurs. Rainmaking and IKEA traveled to seven different cities – from London and Berlin to Tel Aviv and New York – to meet with founders and hear them pitch their businesses.

In the beginning of August at application deadline, IKEA Bootcamp had received 1300 applications from 86 different countries. After hundreds of interviews, 20 startups were invited for Selection Days in Älmhult, Sweden. After two days of in-depth interviews and pitches, ten startups were selected to join IKEA Bootcamp 2017. The ten selected startups were working with everything from material innovation, water recycling and IoT to sustainable food and urban gardening.


Working side-by-side for three months

When joining the three-month Bootcamp, the startups relocated from their offices around the world to Älmhult, Sweden, to work out of a newly built co-working space. The startups each got a senior manager from IKEA as their internal sponsor, and dedicated mentoring and support from IKEA and Rainmaking. More than 100 people from IKEA interacted in different ways with the startups. A carefully curated mix of workshops and events covered insights into IKEA and the steps to build a successful startup. At the final event of the Bootcamp – Demo Day – 400 guests from IKEA, press and the startup community heard the startups pitch the progress they made during the Bootcamp.

We’ve had a very good relationship with Rainmaking – the combination of their network and experience of acceleration programs, together with giving the startups contact with the IKEA values and business needs truly became a win-win both for IKEA and the start-ups
Tony Sandelius
Head of New Business & Innovation, IKEA of Sweden

Learnings and collaborations

When the first program ended in December 2017, one of the startups had already developed a pilot and signed a collaboration agreement with IKEA. Five of the other startups were doing tests or pre-studies.

More info: