VTT LaunchPad is a science based startup incubator that supports scientists at commercializing research and technologies owned by VTT, and challenge the traditional ways of working in the market. The incubator began its activities in the spring of 2019. Its target is to develop high quality, fundable spin-off startups that aim for international growth. The funding path of each incubator team varies case by case -and is influenced, among other things, by the technological maturity of the business case.
1. The incubator channels VTT’s knowhow for the benefit of Finnish economy and competitiveness
The need for the incubator surfaced, when VTT’s owner, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, increased its targets for VTT on expanding its strategic impact of renewing society and industry through the creation of science based startups more effectively. Indeed, one of the key performance indicators of VTT is the amount of funding its spin-off companies raise.
2. The way of working is guided by the Lean Startup methodology
VTT LaunchPad funds the spin-off candidate teams from it’s Government grant based budget. Thus, the incubator can be seen as a pre-seed stage funder. The principle of financing is the Lean Startup methodology, in which the most crucial business hypotheses are tested step by step, learning is accelerated and evidence accumulated, while constantly assessing the direction. Additionally, the incubator program offers training on entrepreneurial skills, team development and interaction with the key investors and other industry players. The aim is to develop the business ideas into customer centered, fundable startups in the leanest possible way.
3. The selection criteria help to identify the strongest teams and the most promising technologies
VTT LaunchPad offers funding up to a year, during which time the team finalizes the venture into a fundable spin-off. The strict selection criteria aims to screen for teams and technologies that can achieve the above target during the incubation process.
According to the selection criteria, the business idea must:
- be built on VTT IPR that can be spun off.
- show market potential and be scalable.
- have a positive impact and benefit for society and the customer.
- be built on demonstrated technology.
- be run by a team that can be developed to a fundable team.
4. The commercialization path to a spin-off company varies by team - the funding instruments are dependent on the technological maturity
The VTT LaunchPad teams have made use of various funding instruments. Some of them have already made use of the TUTLI/R2B funding before joining the program, while some may apply for it during the incubation. However, there are also incubator teams for whom the R2B is not the most suitable funding for developing a spin-off. Those teams may, for example, have matured the technology and application far enough in other VTT projects, such as customer, co-creation or EU-projects.
Out of the incubator teams so far, five have made use of the TUTLI-funding that has helped them mature their technology. Two teams have developed their commercialization paths through other means. One of the latter has already founded a company and is in the final steps of securing its funding. The second one has defined its schedule and roadmap of spinning off over the coming months.
You are welcome to be directly in contact with us, and learn more about VTT LaunchPad activities:
Lotta Partanen, Manager Incubation and Acceleration, VTT LaunchPad, +358504802706, [email protected]
Tiia-Maria Tenhunen, VTT LaunchPad -stakeholders and communities, +358504042942, [email protected]