Inside Ikea’s Startup Bootcamp

by MR Magazine Staff

Sankarshan Murthy sinks into a sofa at Ikea’s conference center in the sleepy town of Almhult in southern Sweden. The former Tesla Inc. and Apple Inc. engineer is jetlagged after flying from San Francisco to make a pitch for his startup, BumbleBee Spaces, which has developed a robotic system to maximize space in small apartments by hoisting beds and other furniture to the ceiling when not in use. BumbleBee was one of 18 companies invited by Ikea for a “startup boot camp” in late March, following a selection process that drew more than 1,100 entries worldwide. The program is part of an effort by the world’s No. 1 furniture retailer to attract a new generation of shoppers. Murthy’s robotic furniture includes sensors that can help users locate, say, a tennis racket stashed in the back of a cupboard, or put a pair of running shoes near the front door for a morning jog — all at the touch of a button or a voice command. Read more at Fortune.