It is hard to think of a better time to be a bank, insurance company or other corporation who wants to work with startups. Over the past years, companies specializing in organizing hackathons, incubators, accelerators or any other kind of startup related programs and services have sprung up like mushrooms. And that’s why regardless if it is the first time an organization is embarking on the journey to work with startups or already have well-established systems and processes, they can easily find whatever help they need.
At the same time, there are so many players that finding the partner (or partners) for your organization and your specific goals is definitely not the easiest task. And that is why we created this guide to help you find the right partner for you.
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We have run 26 different collaboration programs in the past. And in many of them, we helped financial institutions run a corporate accelerator. Because of that, I often the get asked if “we are an accelerator”. And no we’re not: we have expertise in that area, but we are far from that.
In fact, because of those moments, I’m starting to hate the word “accelerator” a little.
But there’s an even funnier part. I often realize that people are confused about what accelerators are. So let’s take a step back, and start there.
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We tend to think of corporations and startups as being on opposite ends of the same continuum. That corporations are the more evolved form of startups, and they are what every startup hopes to eventually become.
And while this is true to some extent, it doesn’t mean the relationship is one-way. Just like startups can learn lots from corporations, they also can teach corporations how to think in new ways and embrace new possibilities.
Company culture is one of these areas where startups can offer some real insight to corporations. Most business leaders agree that a strong and appropriate company culture is a real competitive edge, but organizational change is a daunting task that sometimes seems too great to undertake.
If you’re skeptical that startups can teach business leaders about company culture, then consider the following.
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We talk with a lot of interesting people every day (definitely one of the best perks of the job!). We learn every day from these smart people and their experiences and thought why not share all that with you. Cue our new monthly webinar series.
The first six episodes focus on collaboration and specifically piloting. In each episode we have two guests from startups and one from banks, insurance companies or other corporations, who talk about the different parts of the collaboration journey from the first contact to life after the pilot.
While we are waiting for the next episode (live on the 5th of September), I thought I would gather together some of the learnings from the series. I have to emphasize the word ’some’ as it is impossible to fit everything into one post, and I highly recommend checking out the series here for all of the learnings.
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The best innovations come from collaboration. Yet most attempts at collaboration fail. Most corporates blame the lack of strategic alignment or maturity. Most startups blame bureaucracy and internal politics.
And they’re both right: most of the time, there’s some building block missing. When you buy furniture, you wouldn’t leave half of the pieces “for later”. But with collaboration, that often happens. Neither startups nor corporations come with an Ikea-like manual.
That’s why we’ve decided to put together the elements of startup-corporation collaboration. After 25+ programs, we’ve seen a lot of what can go well, and a lot of what can go wrong. And many of the pitfalls are predictable, to some extent.
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We have done 26 programs so far, but still, each new program makes us as excited as if it was the first one. And the same thing happened again with our latest program: startup accelerator with OTP Bank.
Now it has already been a month since the Demo Day and the end of the program itself. While the collaboration still continues, it’s a good time to look back and reflect on what happened.
Three months of collaboration, innovation & results
Last summer when we started designing this accelerator, we mapped our partner’s OTP Bank’s needs with them – like we do with every collaboration program, be it for a bootcamp, a three-month accelerator, or continuous startup-innovation support. Read more »