Case Studies

Essity is a global hygiene and health company with about 47 000 employees. Their brands, e.g. Libero, TENA, Tork, Tempo, Lotus, Zewa, and Edet, are #1 or #2 in more than 90 countries. Essity has 90 production facilities worldwide, with sales and distribution in 150 countries.

Lean Ventures International worked together with the team of the newly created Essity Ventures initiative to help them to further refine and define their innovation process.

This included discussing and updating their investment criteria, creating a reverse pitch deck that lays out what Essity Ventures can offer startups, designing a bespoke due diligence process to evaluate startups, and setting up channels to generate quality deal flow.

A new website was launched under to present the revised setup and to give startups clear guidelines on what Essity Ventures are looking for and how they can apply.

“Andy helped us in our starting phase of Essity Ventures to establish and refine our strategic approach as well as our process of managing dealflow. His broad knowledge in the ventures field and extensive experience in evaluating and working with startups, brought a lot of insights and learning to the entire team.”

With revenues of USD 80 Billion and a presence in 180+ countries, Philip Morris International (PMI) is one of the largest companies in the world. Since tobacco use causes nearly six million deaths per year, we were skeptical when PMI asked us to lead the implementation of their FastForward (FFWD) program in Denmark.

But as we learned more about FFWD we started to slowly change our minds. With FFWD, PMI is actively challenging themselves by asking: “How long will the world’s leading cigarette company be in the cigarette business?” And with billions being poured into R&D to achieve their new vision of a “Smoke-Free Future”, PMI is showing that they are willing to walk-the-talk.

Their premier RRP (Reduced Risk Product) is called IQOS and is targeted exclusively at smokers who are not prepared to quit smoking but would consider switching to IQOS. Our own reasoning is that if regular smokers who switch to IQOS benefit from significantly lower health risks, we are interested in supporting such an initiative.

As part of the implementation of their new vision, PMI is wholeheartedly adopting a new mindset of rapid experimentation firmly grounded in Design Thinking and Lean Startup methodologies. And that’s where Lean Ventures came into the picture - to help PMI adopt these new ways of working for the purpose of finding an effective go-to-market strategy for IQOS in Denmark.

    • Two day kick-off workshop on Lean Startup and Business Modeling for all employees at PMI Denmark.
    • Selection of two cross-functional, full-time FFWD teams á five people on each team.
    • Implementation of the Lean Ventures 10-week intrapreneurship program.
    • In-depth coaching with the FFWD teams throughout the program.
    • Advising senior management on barriers to innovation and ways how to mitigate them.
    • Informing about IT tools to measure and share innovation progress as the program scales.
    • Liaising with Corporate Affairs and Legal to quickly approve/disapprove experiments that the FFWD teams wanted to run.
    • Three governance board meetings were held where the teams presented their learnings and insights to an innovation board consisting of the Director of Reduced Risk Products for the Nordics, Senior Manager Commercial Strategy & Planning, Director Corporate Affairs, Legal General Counsel and the Managing Director of the Nordics.
Key results:
    • Five personas were defined centered around customers jobs-to-be-done.
    • An experiment funnel consisting of 52 ideas of which 12 were selected by the teams to run, 10 that were approved by CA/legal, four that were partially validated and one that was validated and ready to scale at the end of the program.
    • A landing page controlled by the FFWD teams to run experiments outside of the official website was created.
    • Enhanced understanding of Design Thinking, Lean Startup and Business Modeling throughout the organization as ways to build customer empathy and run rapid data-driven experiments to in/validate key business model assumptions.
    • Clear framework for turning assumptions into testable hypotheses and running experiments and measuring learning metrics, i.e. the “flat part of the hockey stick”.
    • Clear understanding of funnel metrics and how to design experiments to target different parts of the funnel, all the way from acquisition, activation to retention, revenue and referral.

Although we took great care in team selection and coaching we were still surprised by the team's ability to adopt the new ways of working in such a short period of time.

The transformation from day one until the end of the program was truly remarkable with some FFWD team members already beginning to transition to train-the-trainer roles for the purpose of scaling FFWD across the organization.

“In the five months after Andy came in to help select and work with our teams, we have changed our ways of working and managed to increase our market share significantly in the Danish market. Exactly how much of this is directly due to Lean Startup is difficult to say but Andy managed to push us outside of our normal boundaries and mindset, which was great!"

Andy Cars was engaged as an advisor to StartupLazio! on how to 'boost' the startup ecosystem in the Lazio region in Italy. The cooperation expanded to include TWIST (Transregional Web Innovative Services for Thriving Digital and Mobile Entrepreneurship). TWIST was a two-year consortium project under the banner of Startup Europe and Horizon 2020 and financed by the EU-commission.

The TWIST consortium included partners from four cities and regions with complementary profiles and assets: Warsaw, Lille, Rome, and Stockholm. The key objectives of TWIST were to support the creation of competitive startups in the web and mobile sector.


Lean Ventures (formerly Seedcap) was engaged by the EU-Commission to:

    • Design and run a startup accelerator program focused on e-Health in Stockholm
    • Attract and manage mentors and investors
    • Coach the startup teams in lean startup methodology
Key results:

The startup accelerator was named “Frogleap”. In the first year, a total of six startup teams and 21 highly qualified and experienced mentors participated in the program. In addition, 70 investors attended the first demo day in Stockholm at the end of the first batch. Out of the six teams, three went on to raise follow-on funding. In addition, networks and knowledge on how to reduce the high failure rate of startups were shared amongst the four participating hubs.

“Andy was our startup coach at the Frogleap accelerator program during 2015. His methods and attitude regarding business development are both challenging and inspiring. During our collaboration Andy generously shared his experience to help us sharpen our business skills. His encouragement in combination with his coaching techniques offered a great balance from which to grow our abilities. I truly recommend to involve Andy in your ambition to reach further with your business.”

With 4 300 employees and sales of SEK 20 Billion, BillerudKorsnäs (BK) is a leading provider of renewable packaging material. December 2013, BK appointed a Director of New Business Lab, to coordinate and lead the innovation efforts at BK. Lean Ventures was engaged as an advisor and coach during the setup of this function.

“As an external innovations expert Andy Cars worked with me to create the New Business Lab function at BK. Andy is not only fun to work with, but when it comes to innovation, he is one of the most knowledgeable and engaging people that I know. He not only provided us with valuable frameworks, tools and perspectives that helped us to grow but he understood how to make all of that work within the context of a large and complex organization.”

With revenues of more than SEK 100 Billion, Telia Company is the leading mobile network operator in Sweden, Finland, and the Baltic States.

Lean Ventures has provided training on innovation and entrepreneurship to Telia four years in a row. This has been done in cooperation KTH Executive Education and within the framework of the IT/IP Business Competence Development Program.

Andy Cars has given keynotes in Stockholm and Tallinn and worked with Purple+, a unit within Telia established to nurture innovation throughout Telia Company through exploration, training and incubation programs.

Purple+ is organized under Division X, which is run by Brendan Ives, and is tasked with spearheading Telia’s activities in emerging business areas such as Cloud, IoT, and eHealth.

Tieto is an IT software and service company providing IT and product engineering services. Active in more than 20 countries with approximately 13,000 employees, Tieto is one of the largest IT service providers in Europe.

Lean Ventures was engaged to run a series of workshops in Stockholm and Helsinki to introduce Tieto to the Lean Startup methodology, Innovation Accounting connected to OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) and to coach startups from their innovation portfolio.

“Andy is an inexhaustible source of knowledge of lean startup methodology and design thinking, as well as of tools and techniques for applying those methods in practice.”

SMHI is the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute. In January 2014 SMHI was required to make their data freely available also for commercial purposes. This forced SMHI to reconsider how they do business.

To better prepare SMHI for these new challenges, Lean Ventures provided SMHI employees with training on Lean Startup and Business Modeling techniques. This has helped SMHI to systematically prioritize and test new ideas and business model concepts.

“As our lean startup coach, Andy not only inspires us to reach further, but he also offers actionable tools and methods that are key to building more agile and customer oriented organizations.”

Andy Cars has a long-standing collaboration with the KTH Royal Institute of Technology (ranked #98 in QS Global World Rankings 2021).

He is a visiting faculty member of the KTH Executive School providing world-class education and training in innovation and entrepreneurship as part of the IT/IP Business Competence Development Program.

Since 2017 Andy has also co-designed and taught the Bicky Chakraborty Entrepreneur Program. The program came about thanks to the generous donation of 5 MSEK by Bicky Chakraborty, the founder of Elite Hotels.

In addition, Andy has developed and taught the EIT IoT Summer School two years in a row (2020 and 2021). In competition with 12 other EIT summer schools, the IoT program was ranked by the international master students as #2 overall and #1 for entrepreneurship.

Andy is frequently invited to present, run workshops, coach startups or sit in on panels at universities, business and design schools, startup events, innovation conferences, and corporate events.

Lean Ventures has presented and held workshops at:
Business & Design Schools
  • Bergh’s School of Communication
  • EIT Digital
  • EMGI School of Entrepreneurship
  • Hyper Island
  • KTH Business Creation
  • Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship
  • Stockholm School of Economics
  • SSE Executive Education
  • Telecom SudParis

Startup events
  • Global Startup Battle
  • Lean Startup Machine
  • Startup Weekend
  • Stockholm Entrepreneurs
Startup hubs
  • Impact Hub
  • SUP46
Startup incubators
  • Reach For Change
  • SE Forum
Innovation conferences
  • The Intrapreneurship Conference
  • The Global Chief Innovation Officers Summit

“Andy led a brilliant workshop for our social entrepreneurs about the lean startup. His presentation was dynamic, filled with a perfect blend of theory and practical applications and he did a very good job of keeping both energy and attention high for a full-day. I highly recommend Andy for anything and everything lean startup!”

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