Posted by & filed under Accelerator, Banking, Collaboration, Featured, General.

The way we do transactions (of all sorts) is changing. Technologies such as blockchain and AI have affected the way we do our banking, insurance, legal work, administration, investments, etc.

But I’m preaching to the choir. Many of you who read this are already part of the next wave of fintech. Or they have the new killer insurtech solution. Or you’re using using blockchain to make some current operation obsolete.

Is that you? And most importantly, do you believe in partnerships with the big players in order to become the next big thing?

The you’ll be interested in the blockchain and fintech accelerator

And it comes with a twist.

A continuous boost in your business development

Our previous bootcamps and accelerators have run in batches. But we’ve seen that the biggest part of the value comes afterwards, from the community. So we’ve decided to re-build the concept from the ground up, and make our program continuous, so you can jump in and out whenever it suits your need best!

That means we have regular selection bootcamps happening all over the world, where new startups can join in. Join us in a journey through Spain, UK, Finland, Dubai, Singapore… We partner with banks in each of the locations to bring you closer to them, and for them to help us select the most relevant of you.

But those bootcamps also double as business development boosts for the previous startups in our community! In each of these places you’ll get to meet the relevant people from our partner banks and insurance companies and work on how you can disrupt the market together.

Terje Ennomäe co-founder of FeelingStreamIf you are selected you get to attend as many of those bootcamps as are valuable to you. We will have rotating topics that we work on, specialised on making you a collaboration machine. Because we take pride on our startups being the best at partnering with banks. And we want to help you get there. You will probably attend several at the beginning, and then join in at your pace if you need a refreshener or new connections to a new partner corporation.

What this means for you:

  • Startups: if you get selected for this program, you’ll have access to partners all around the globe through different bootcamps
  • Financial institutions: you can get access to the best innovations and make sure they get implemented in your organisation (instead of just mingling), contact us to become part of the community

A boost in your funding

But I left one of the best parts for last. One important part of the journey is funding, and most startups spend a lot of time chasing investors and negotiating terms.

But capital markets are changing. Venture capital still plays a strong role, but new formats of funding like STOs are entering the market. The process is becoming more transparent and efficient. We believe in the power of blockchain for streamlining investment proceses.

That’s why we’ve partnered with TokenMarket, to help you prepare your company for funding and STOs. When attending our bootcamps, you’ll prepare your company for doing a funding round, and take a fast track to liquidity for your investors. We will give you access to our network of investors, use the most modern technologies for your funding round, and bring in additional strategic partners to your round.

What this means for you:

  • Startups: learn the new ways of raising capital, keep your investors informed and raise funds efficiently.
  • Investors: do more transparent and efficient investments, on a broader scope, and get liquidity earlier.
  • Financial institutions: find your upcoming strategic investments, a curated deal flow to align your investments and your innovation.

It’s not an accelerator, it’s a community

As you probably know, we brings together the experience from organizing 26 collaboration programs with corporations such as Nordea, OTP Bank, TEB BNP Paribas, Nokia or Microsoft.

You can clearly see that Nestholma has done may programs before, and knows how to support the collaboration

Janos Barits, Fintechblocks

We bring that to you, at scale.

Of course, we won’t stop helping our partner financial institutions. This is an additional way of transforming finance, real estate, insurance, law… and human interaction in general! Are you ready to step on the gas? Join our community, apply here!

Posted by & filed under Featured, General, Press release, Programs.

At Nestholma we believe in proximity. Employees of financial institutions and entrepreneurs need to stay close to learn from each other. We need to be there as well, to make sure collaboration happens productively.

But…  fintech startups are born global. Fintech startups are not bound by national borders. They need to look past the few big players in their country and build a network of international connection early on.

Tough combination, right?

It seems like we must be everywhere at once. And even worse: financial institutions are expected to keep up with everything that’s going on!

In order to be closer to the financial and fintech ecosystems in Southern Europe and Latin America, we’ve decided to open an office in Spain. It will be part of Distrito Digital, a program by the Government of Comunidad Valenciana region in Spain. And we’ll work hard and make sure that there’s plenty of productive fintech activity for both sides!

Nestholma office in Alicante, Spain

Our new office in Alicante, Spain. Come visit us!

Way beyond hanging out and talking about what “could be”! We want to become a catalyser for startup collaboration here as well.

We want to get to know more people from the fintech ecosystem in Spain

That means that we’ll be looking very closely at Spanish startups, financial institutions, and ecosystem players in the space. If you are such a person (or connected to one), and regardless of where you are, please get in touch with Daniel, our CEO, to have a first discussion.

And don’t worry: we’ll also be close to those of you in the Nordics. We’ll of course stay active in Finland, and we will always be present where our partners are. Remember, we believe in proximity.

And as a showcase of this, let us welcome you home, in a new country.

Let’s make collaboration together!

Posted by & filed under Accelerator, Banking, Corporations, Featured, General, innovating.

Corporations benefit in many ways from having an accelerator. In our whitepaper, we already analyzed those benefits in depth. But one question that is sometimes tricky for people is: how much?

This is especially relevant when preparing a business case. Should you or should you not do an accelerator? What are the benefits, the costs, what do the numbers say? And sometimes you have to discuss with others in the corporation, why it’s a good idea to engage with startups. For those moments, it’s good to have some figures with you. 

That’s why we decided to build an economic model of the benefits; the Nestholma Business Case Builder. And we’re sharing Read more »

Posted by & filed under Corporate Venture Capital, Featured, General, Investing.

The startup event of the year, Slush, was last week and that meant it was also time for our official Slush side event: Corporate Venture Capital.

Together with Helsinki Business Hub, Mawsonia and Global Corporate Venturing we got together the brightest of the CVCs from all over the world. And thanks to the great speakers and our amazing attendees we got an interesting peek into what’s in the minds of the CVC professionals all over the world.

Corporate Venture Capital is here to stay

Corporate venture capital has been on the rise. But lately, some have started questioning whether it’s just a boom that is going to die soon.  Read more »

Posted by & filed under Accelerator, Banking, Fintech, General, Programs, Startups.

It’s time for more deals and more pilots! Taviq from our second Nordea accelerator has just signed a pilot agreement with Nordea Private Banking, going live now. And that’s awesome news for Taviq and Nordea, but even better for Nordea’s customers!

Juho Isola on a MoneyFintech panel with Nordea's Ewan MacLeod.

Taviq’s Juho Isola on stage with Nordea’s Chief Digital Officer Ewan MacLeod.

In Private Banking and wealth management, too many clients drop off during the first meeting. That’s because the first meeting is like a cold blind date. Except the customer and the wealth advisor know even less about each other. The first meeting is spent figuring each other out; if the wealth advisor even is the right one to handle their money. Read more »

Posted by & filed under Corporations, General, innovating, Investing, Organizational learning, Product development, Startups.

 

Corporate venture capital has been an excellent way for many companies to increase shareholder value. Research shows 30% better increase of share value with companies with strong Corporate Venture capital activities.  And if you look for example at the biggest Chinese giants, most of that valuation increase is because of good investments, not operative business.

But it’s usually done only with later-stage companies.
Read more »

Posted by & filed under General, Press release.

Every company is build by its people. Having a great team with complementing individual talents is crucial for success. This is why I’m thrilled that Daniel Collado-Ruiz has just been invited to join Nestholma’s partner roster.

Nestholma partners

Daniel Collado-Ruiz wears a lot of hats with ease (both figuratively and literally). He has an impressive list of accomplishments as an academic, entrepreneur, business coach and educator. On the academic side Daniel was an Associate Professor at Universitat Politècnica de València in Spain. His specialty was ecoinnovation and creativity. As an entrepreneur, he has founded Nurtup that helps people interact better through games. Both in the academia and business, Daniel has been organising workshops for people and companies to develop in five continents.

Daniel has been already working for Nestholma since last summer. During Nestholma’s Nordea Startup Accelerator his contribution as the project manager, coach and Stockholm site manager was invaluable. Daniel continue to have a key role in running programs, coaching startups and running workshops,

Daniel will be in charge of some of our most important activities. One of Nestholma’s cornerstones is the scalable program model that we’ve been using to run 19 programs around Europe. I’m very pleased to have Daniel running the program model development from now on. The other area is taking care of our international network of mentors. Having a great team is crucial for any business, but having a great network of partners is equally important. And it’s great to have Daniel developing new collaboration opportunities for our mentors and startups.

On a lighter note, Daniel (top left in the picture) also fits our partners’ hairstyle requirements perfectly :-)

Topi Järvinen @topij
Managing partner at Nestholma

Posted by & filed under Entrepreneurship, General.

Entrepreneurship is being hailed as the key to economic growth in the future. It has become an acceptable or even a somewhat glorious way of making a living. Still, our view on entrepreneurship is out-dated and one-sided. With that we’re leaving too many opportunities on the table. To attract even more people to become entrepreneurs, we should widen our perspective. We should talk more about it also as a practical way to achieve your goals rather than just as a goal in itself.

entrepreneurship is a toolThe World Bank and European Commission see entrepreneurship as the way spur economic growth. Everyone loves to hear about the superstar entrepreneurs like Elon Musk and Richard Branson and how they’ve changed the world through entrepreneurship. Especially in the world of the high growth startups, serial entrepreneurship has become the way to do it: grow fast, make an exit and start again. And it is important have the serial entrepreneurs, because you certainly come out of each experience with a lot of new learnings. The accumulated learnings of the serial entrepreneurs are an importan part of the impact entrepreneurship has on the growth. But we need to look beyond these popular views.

Two faces of entrepreneurship

For some of us entrepreneurship itself is important. The ideas and business may change over time, but being an entrepreneur and working for yourself is an important part of working. As Niklas Zennstrom said

If you want to be an entrepreneur, it’s not a job, it’s a lifestyle. It defines you.
Niklas Zennstrom, the Skype co-founder and VC

For others entrepreneurship is just one of the tools in the toolbox. You pick it up, if it helps you to achieve your goals. Still, you are just as happy to work for someone else if that enables you to achieve what you want. Just like Matt Rogers said:

I never wanted to be an entrepreneur. I wanted to build things that are easy to use.
Matt Rogers, Founder and VP of Engineering at Nest (acq. by Google)

Even serial entrepreneur and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey has said that he never wanted to be an entrepreneur.

We need to embrace the a broader view of entrepreneurship

Over last year, I’ve worked with hundreds of early stage startup founders and others who have been considering entrepreneurship. For many it seems to be a really scary choice. There are already lots of un-necessary hurdles for people who consider entrepreneurship, including all kinds hurdles in legal issues and taxation. On top of that, the one-sided view makes people think that entrepreneurship is the final choice for the rest of your life. Switching back to some other form of working is too many times seen as a failure. This prevents many people from pursuing great business ideas by using entrepreneurship as a tool.

I think we have a much bigger opportunity in entrepreneurship than we’re thinking. Yes, regardless of our definition, it requires a lot. “The reality is years of hard work, throughout which you usually have no idea if you’re even moving in the right direction.” as Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz has said. Still, it can be a really useful tool – not a goal in itself. It enables many more people to achieve their dreams, make a living, make an impact in the word or whatever it may mean for each of us.

Topi Järvinen, @topij

 

Posted by & filed under General, Press release.

We are excited to welcome Mika Eriksson to our Nestholma family! He has a strong background in entrepreneurship, sales and all things international, and thus couldn’t be better addition to our team.

Mika Eriksson joins NestholmaMika has been an entrepreneur for 18 years and cofounded 4 companies. He also worked almost 8 years at Finpro (Finpro is the national trade, internationalization and investment development organization in Finland), where he helped countless startups and corporation succeed in variety of fields. Both his own companies and his work at Finpro has been very international. At Nestholma he is going put his international knowledge and vast sales experience to good use, as he will be focusing on our international growth.

”Nestholma is doing an amazing job giving big corporations a big gush of innovative air, and at the same time helping startups benefit from the vast knowledge and experience corporations have. Nestholma is also growing internationally fast, which makes joining the team even more exciting”, says Mika.

Look forward to even more global Nestholma!

 

Posted by & filed under Corporations, Customers, General, Product development, Startups.

If you’ve dealt with both, you know that startups and big companies behave very differently. You can hear all sort of stories, from people moving from a corporate job to a startup, to entrepreneurs trying to deal with their corporate customers, to the same corporations trying to make business with startups.

What’s considered best practice in startups or in corporations is dramatically different… sometimes contradictory! And all those best practices make sense if you understand the context in which each one of them operates. In this post I try to make sense of the biggest differences between the two:

Startups Corporations
Value CUSTOMER
They are normally on a quest to solve some big problem from their customers. Something is good if it increases that impact — and turns it into a good business. They make quick prototypes or MVPs to show it to customers, to decide about changes.
PRODUCTIVITY
To beat competition, they need to focus on productivity. They need to be efficient: get the best impact with the least resources. They work with budgets to understand how the company spends. They might calculate the Return on Investment to decide about changes.
Product Development DIALOGUE
They develop the minimum version of their product —focusing on the core — and show it to customers (a few of them, the early adopters) as soon as it’s possible — sometimes before. Based on customer feedback, they take the next steps.
STUDIES
Investing at the beginning of the product development project makes better products. They normally invest resources in market studies to understand demographics and big market niches. They develop requirements to coordinate big teams.
Decisions TEST
Everything is uncertain around them, the only way to find out and decide is to test. Data in consulted, but intuition and gut feeling play a big role in decision making. Decisions are kept small and validated with customers.
ANALYSIS
In big companies, there is much at stake. In-house experts exist and are consulted for decisions. Many people are involved in the decisions. Effects are measured and tracked, and the decision process is as rational as possible.
Pace FAST
The most precious resource for startups is time. They have limited runway — the time until they run out of resources — and they have to be quick to figure out a good business model. The shorter the iteration the better: they focus on speed rather than fine tuning.
STEADY
Predictability and control are seen as positive. Coordinating is difficult, because of the size of the company. Changes might impact many people, who might have their own agendas. It’s important to limit the uncertainty in decisions and changes, and because of that, they take a long time.
Way of working GET-IT-DONE
Startups have small teams that are not very hierarchical. People tend to be a jack-of-all-trades with some specialisation. Everybody learns a bit about everything since there are no in-house experts. The way of doing things is mostly defined ad-hoc.
PROCESSES
People and departments have clear roles and responsibilities. Most of the activities have clear processes that have been optimised. This creates clarity and uniformity in the quality, but can also create bureaucracy. Everyday tasks work well and are predictable.
Communication TRANSPARENT
Communication is mostly clear, short and simple — both inside and towards the outside. New ideas are shared with the outside as much and as quickly as possible, to get feedback. Communication to customers is focused and bold, to validate assumptions.
CAREFUL
Communication is very carefully planned. Towards the outside, there is often a specialised department supervising it. Product information is normally kept secret, to keep competitors away. Internal communication is written with generalist terms so that it applies to all stakeholders, and sometimes has an internal political agenda.
Mistakes FAIL FAST
“Fail fast” has become almost a mantra among entrepreneurs. They normally pivot their business model several times, so it’s good to test assumptions, and to have them fail as soon as possible. They take risks and learn from the experience. This makes them more likely to succeed at radical innovation.
AVOID
There is so much at stake for them, that they can’t allow themselves to fail. Plans are made to minimise the chances of any mistake hitting the market. Employees have areas of expertise, in which they’re expected to have the right answers. Risk are detected and managed. This makes them good at incremental innovation, but generally not at radical innovation.

Of course, this doesn’t apply to all startups or to all corporations. Each company is different! But in our experience organizing corporate accelerator programs with Nestholma, we have seen a lot of them behave like this.

What’s your experience? Leave us a comment below!

 

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