On June 3rd, Toyota Material Handling Europe in Mjölby, opened their gates for a selection of startups to pitch their solutions for innovative logistics solutions. The event were co-organized with innovation hub Science Park Mjärdevi in Linköping in the attempt to reach a broader range of startup companies.

– We were very excited, says Hans Larsson, Director Strategic Innovation, we didn’t really know what to expect. Toyota is a traditional company with success in continuous improvements within existing products and services. We realize that the future holds new challenges and that we need to widen our networks and build eco-systems to hold and grow our market share, he says.

Six companies participated during the day, travelling all the way to Mjölby from all parts of Sweden. Cargo Beacon travelled from Alta in Hälsingland, Waybill from Örebro, Universes from Stockholm, Optiplan from Norrköping and Dyna Robotics, from Linköping. Ekkono came all the way from Varberg on the west coast.

– We wouldn’t miss out on an opportunity like this says, Linn Sidahl, Ekkono Solutions, providing an Edge Machine Learning software. We’ve participated in a lot of different initiatives all over Sweden, mentioning cooperating with Synerleap, being part of a number of match-making events within the Ignite Sweden initiative as well as the Siemens Popup Collaboration Expo, also arranged by Science Park Mjärdevi. It is a good thing corporate innovation is booming in Sweden, and everyone is very engaged. As a startup we really welcome opportunities that offer small, defined pilot projects where we get to know the customer and their needs – and learn how to create value for them.

– It was a great experience to participate at the event, says Jonas Åhlin, Optiplan, working with automized optimization. For us being a scaleup, trying to widen our service offer this opportunity came at exactly the right time. We’ve been working with optimization for more than 15 years, and digitalization have really opened the market for us. It was also very inspiring to meet the other startups, and I can see collaboration opportunities with at least one of them.

As a next step, Toyota will invite some of the companies to be part of the Logiconomi Forum 2019, that will take place in Amsterdam in November 2019. The Forum will be attracting over 300 of Europe’s leading logistics professionals – a unique event organized by Toyota Material Handling in association with Microsoft and Vanderlande, and in collaboration with several other innovative companies in the logistics sector. A significant dimension of the event is the ‘Start-up Zone’, which is designed to allow a small number of new forward-thinking businesses to pitch their logistic concepts to this important audience. Each successful start-up will be provided with a presentation slot within the event program, and display space to host discussions and demonstrations.

– It certainly has been a great day, says Hans Larsson, summarizing the pitch event. All of the companies have presented solutions that opens up new ideas for different parts in our operations. This was a first step for us, and we will continue trying out more events like this on a small scale, to learn and identify new opportunities along the way. The logistics industry is developing and changing faster than ever before, and if we want to stay ahead of competition we need to accelerate our pace of change. Business as usual is no more.