Wärtsilä kicks off a SparkUp Challenge for start-ups at Slush Helsinki

Wärtsilä Corporation, Press release 30 November 2017 at 10:00 UTC+2
  • SparkUp Challenge

The technology group Wärtsilä accelerates its collaboration with start-ups and universities by launching the Wärtsilä SparkUp Challenge for start-ups today at Slush Helsinki. The Challenge is divided into two different cohorts: Smart Marine and Smart Energy.

The Wärtsilä SparkUp Challenge is based on Wärtsilä’s new purpose: “enabling sustainable societies with smart technology”. The Challenge starts with the focus on Wärtsilä’s recently launched Smart Marine Vision, with Wärtsilä inviting start-ups to collaborate and co-create with them around the whole value chain of smart shipping. The application period starts on November 30 and continues until 31 January 2018.

After the application closes, the Wärtsilä SparkUp jury will choose up to 12 start-ups and universities to compete in a 4-day challenge organised in Helsinki during March 2018. Two winners will get the chance to work with Wärtsilä in one of our two Digital Acceleration Centres (DAC) in Helsinki or Singapore to create a Minimum Viable Product (MVP).

“This is an amazing opportunity to co-create with us for, and really accelerate the development of, innovative digital services that sit at the heart of transforming Wärtsilä into being an as-a-service smart technology company. For up to six months, we will provide the winning teams space and exposure to our experts’ advice. The winners will also get a capital grant of 50.000 euros,” says Alid Dettke, Wärtsilä’s Vice President of Digital Innovation.

“We can offer start-ups access to our data and the most renowned customers in both industries, Marine and Energy. You will also get our experts’ support, insight and mentoring as well as access to Wärtsilä’s global network,” promises Marco Ryan, Chief Digital Officer of Wärtsilä.

The co-creation at the DAC takes place through an incubation phase and a go-to-market transformation. The Smart Marine ecosystem is a very good starting theme for the start-up challenge, as one of the greatest successes incubated so far in the Helsinki DAC is Wärtsilä’s Intelligent Vessel Strategy, which is an important part of the future Smart Marine Ecosystem.

Wärtsilä Tiered Venturing Model

The Wärtsilä SparkUp Challenge for start-ups is part of Wärtsilä’s new Tiered Venturing Model that consists of five levels: the first step being when Wärtsilä invests into existing accelerator or incubator programmes focused on the Marine and Energy sectors.

The second level of the Wärtsilä Venturing Model is the Wärtsilä SparkUp Challenge launched today. The challenge winners will get to co-create together with Wärtsilä in the Digital Acceleration Centres in Helsinki and Singapore.

The third venturing level is strategic partnerships with start-ups and other small companies. Venturing on level four means being involved in joint venture opportunities with partners, and finally the ultimate step in this collaboration is a traditional mergers and acquisitions activity.

George Newstein, the inventor of Wärtsilä’s Don’t share campaign

As part of Wärtsilä’s SparkUp Challenge we have introduced the start-up community a larger than life inventor, the eccentric George Newstein. Unlike start-uppers, Newstein doesn’t believe in sharing his brilliant ideas and inventions to the world. To manifest his message, Newstein is taking over social media with #dontshare and he has also been spotted in person around the Slush Helsinki start-up event.

Even though we at Wärtsilä think that George Newstein is a lovable fictional character, we don’t share his views. We want start-ups to co-create together with us. Still, he’s doing a great job for Wärtsilä by creating awareness of Wärtsilä’s appetite in start-ups and leading future partners to ventures.wartsila.com.

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Read more:

Wärtsilä Ventures
Wärtsilä Digital Acceleration Centre
Smart Marine Ecosystem
Venturing video
George Newstein, the inventor in Wärtsilä’s Don’t share campaign


Media contacts:

Media has an opportunity to meet Mr Ryan and Ms Dettke at Slush on Thursday 30 November at the Wärtsilä booth 7A.3 from 11AM–12 PM. Otherwise they are available for interviews during both Slush days. Please contact Ms Cresswell for interview requests.

Mr Marco Ryan
Chief Digital Officer & Executive Vice President
Wärtsilä Corporation
Tel: +358 10 709 0000

Ms Alid Dettke
Vice President, Digital Innovation
Wärtsilä Corporation
Tel: +358 10 709 0000

Ms Jenita Cresswell
Digital Communications Manager
Wärtsilä Digital
Tel: +358 50 584 8097


Wärtsilä in brief:
Wärtsilä is a global leader in advanced technologies and complete lifecycle solutions for the marine and energy markets. By emphasising sustainable innovation and total efficiency, Wärtsilä maximises the environmental and economic performance of the vessels and power plants of its customers. In 2016, Wärtsilä's net sales totalled EUR 4.8 billion with approximately 18,000 employees. The company has operations in over 200 locations in more than 70 countries around the world. Wärtsilä is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki, Finland