SynerLeap expands the ecosystem at Ignite

As a supplier, how can you build up muscle so that you meet the future with strength when digitalisation and rapid innovation are on every customer’s list of demands? By being in an ecosystem that features close collaboration across boundaries, if you ask ABB, whose growth hub SynerLeap is constantly expanding.


The SynerLeap growth hub opened its doors two years ago in the ABB Corporate Research Center in Västerås. Today some 30 startup and scaleup companies are linked to the hub, which is described as an ecosystem by its CEO, Peter Löfgren.

“It’s hard to do profitable, long-term business without having confidence in each other’s competence,” he says. “But by simply being inside the same ecosystem and seeing each other, being impressed by and challenging each other, then it’s much easier to achieve those successful deals.” 

Tesla a role model

He mentions the electric car manufacturer Tesla as a good example. It hands out all its patents to its ecosystem. That’s risky, you might think, but if you open up to the ecosystem and contribute to it, then in return you gain associates who want to be involved in realising the same vision.

“Even if you don’t know exactly how much of a winner you will become from getting involved in the ecosystem, you can be totally sure that if you don’t get involved, you won’t be a winner,” he says. “Then you will be disrupted and no longer needed in the manufacturing chain. So being passive is always a worse choice.” 

Embrace new technology

The same reasoning applies to suppliers as it does to ABB, Ericsson, Volvo and similar corporate giants. It is important to embrace new technology and new possibilities, especially digitalisation, Löfgren argues. He says there is a graphene company under SynerLeap’s roof right now that is completely disrupting traditional electrical products with totally unique material properties.

“It’s critical to incorporate the new technology into your offering. Startups are so much more efficient at taking the first steps towards having an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) or being able to do business.” 

Sweden in the lead

The corporate cluster at SynerLeap is constantly growing, and in the past six months almost twenty new partnerships have begun. They range from ABB making investments or purchasing products, solutions and systems, to approaching a customer together or doing joint research and technological development.

“Sweden is incredibly advanced with its ecosystem. Its full potential has not yet been realised other than in cooperating with major corporations but we are in the process of taking the lead right now,” Löfgren says, adding that the same holds true for all suppliers.

“If we are not all on our toes, then there is a big risk that many of us will be disrupted and development will happen in other parts of the world instead.” 

Find a partner at Ignite

One effective way to find partners is to participate in the matchmaking service Ignite, which handpicks smart startups and matches them to suppliers’ wishes. The service is being offered in collaboration with Ignite Sweden, a national initiative that aims to increase cooperation between small, innovative startups and larger, established companies in Sweden. So far, the organisation has been used by giants such as ABB, Volvo, Alfa Laval and Eon to find startups with expertise in digitalisation. By holding the matchmaking sessions at Elmia Subcontractor, those companies’ suppliers gain access to the same opportunity.

“Ignite is totally brilliant and incredibly valuable for Sweden’s ecosystem,” Peter Löfgren says. “We have participated many times, and it is fantastic to be able to sit down with an abundance of the companies that Ignite has selected according to what we need. If we were to do that research ourselves it would require huge resources.”

 Read more about Ignite and register here.