Posted by & filed under Accelerator, Global Fintech Accelerator, Human Resources, Startups, Team.

What makes a good startup? How can you see which ones have potential?

As a talent scout and having lead global recruitment team in the past, I see a lot of similarities between talent acquisition and startup search. Here are some insights from behind the scenes of The I Bootcamp of Blockchain & Fintech Accelerator Alicante. In this project’s selection phase our team screened over 3000 startups based on the needs of Bankia, BBVA, Sanitas, Santander, Sparklab of Nationale Nederlanden, Sabadell, Caixabank and Abanca.

Understanding the business needs

Both in recruitment and in startup scouting, it all starts from understanding the business needs. What solutions are the financial institutions looking for right now? What strategy is behind those needs and why is that important for them? And the question everyone is asking today – how will the world look different after Covid-19 pandemic?

The better you understand what your partners need and what kind of technical solutions could answer that, the better the results.

For the latest bootcamp, we had a wide variety of different themes in scope: the banks and insurance companies were looking for practical applications of blockchain, traceability, smart contracts, trade finance and tokenization of assets.

On the other hand, big themes were also financial wellbeing and education, accessibility and preventive health care solutions for insurance and healthcare companies.

New approaches to security and fraud prevention continue being hot topics. And my inner HR was happy to see the rising interest in innovative B2B2E benefits and solutions for the employees. Also, while the covid-19 impacts the whole world, supporting the clients in this changing situation and beyond has become an additional priority.

Photo: Distrito Digital

Finding the matches from millions

After having a clear direction, it’s a mix of creativity and hard work. Finding the best matches means – not only marketing and promotion – but also hunting the best finsurtech startups around the world for each theme. In practice this means advanced searching, testing variations of keywords, going through thousands of web pages, identifying potential, analyzing the solutions.

Industry knowledge, partners, wide networks and data crunching super search tools are a must. Not forgetting looots of coffee to keep the engines running!

Identifying the high potential

For the last bootcamp we contacted over 1500 potential startups and received over 400 applications from over 60 different countries. During 2020 we’ve so far had 5 online pitching days, with dozens of startups.

The selection is done carefully. The criteria that we use in the assessment phase is not only related to the pitching of the technical solution, scalability and past performance. It’s about the whole team.

In HR terms we talk about identifying high potential (HiPo) talent: SHL’s and Gartner’s research and the traditional SHL Model of High-Potential talks about aspiration, ability and engagement. Harward Business review refers also to the importance of a positive drive.

What we look is: does this group of individuals have the mindset, solution and skills that are needed for being successful to work with us and our partners? Besides top-notch business ideas and technical expertise, a good balance of emotional and social skills is important. Learning agility, problem solution and negotiation skills are highly valued in collaboration and future partnerships.

Also, the roles and dynamics of the team members are important. What kind of expertise does the team have? Which areas do they need to strengthen?

Towards collaboration

After introducing the best startups to our partners and initiating the collaborations starts the real journey – the part that often causes most challenges in startup collaboration. Bureaucratic regulations, long decision-making processes and different cultures and ways of working might cause grey hair at the beginning for both the financial institutions and the startups.

Just like onboarding new team members, this is the critical part and there should be a good plan and resources for both sides for working together.

With an inspirational accelerator program and coaching, we can help in this making businesses grow and collaboration prosper. As long as there’s curiosity and desire to learn from each other and motivation towards common goals, we are on the right path.


What else do you value in collaboration? What solutions are important for you right now? I’d be glad to share thoughts with you – let’s connect in LinkedIn in/virpijalonen or you can find me from Telegram as Viivinen.

Virpi

PS. If you are reading this before 12th June 2020, join the Distrito Digital Virtual Bootcamp Online and see these startups in action yourself!

About the writer

Hi! I’m Virpi Jalonen, Renewal Strategist and COO at Nestholma and the entrepreneurial booster that can help your cultural transformation to become reality throughout the organization. For startups, I’m a devoted coach. It’s so fascinating to see what a team of amazing talents is capable to achieve and my job is to support them on that journey. 

I can also help people towards new beginnings and support even in the toughest restructuring situations by providing entrepreneurial training and startup accelerator programs for laid-off employees.

From background, I’m HR leader and entrepreneur with +10 years of experience from various HR roles in international IT and gaming companies, specializing in talent acquisition and engagement, building HR processes from scratch, ramping up organizations and creating positive working environments.

Feel free to contact me – I’d be happy to connect!

Virpi Jalonen

HR at heart – with an entrepreneurial soul :)

Posted by & filed under Collaboration, Corporations, Entrepreneurship, General, Human Resources.

“Most big banks have the tools and advantages to push the boundaries of their existing business models. And they’re certainly motivated. What hampers their progress is uncertainty about how best to build on core strengths to create sustainable outcomes.”

McKinsey

Financial institutions know they need to change. They need to keep up with the digital growth. And they need to keep up with the evolving market that startups are disrupting. Their HR departments feel the urgency and know they need to drive the change. But what often remains blurry is what they need to do in reality to make things happen.

Yes, we need to steer this organization into the new direction – but what is the direction? What does the future of financial institutions look like in practise? And what does it require from people to actually get there?

Read more »

Posted by & filed under Guest blog, Human Resources, Organizational learning.

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.

Read more »

Posted by & filed under Human Resources, Innovation, Organizational learning, skills, Startups.

The rapidly changing world requires corporations to re-think all aspects of their organizations. They need to renew their strategies, operations and the way they organize their resources. Some of the most successful companies have realized startups are a good tool for fostering organizational renewal. They understand that in today’s world, they cannot only rely on their in-house resources.

By building relationships within a broader ecosystem of organizations, corporations can mobilize relevant expertise and talent to address unexpected challenges whenever they arise. Bill Joy, the co-founder and Chief Scientist of Sun Microsystems once Read more »

Posted by & filed under Accelerator, Corporations, Human Resources.

Most corporate accelerators fail in giving tangible results. Many corporations don’t even have a clear vision of what they’re trying to do with it! Some succeed in bringing only a few innovations to the market. Rarely the ones that can create real change. And most fail at changing the corporation in any meaningful way at all. This is entirely predictable. If that’s you, you’re probably doing it wrong.

Innovation is messy: you don’t know much at the beginning of the process, of what you’re going to get. Unfortunately, many people feel like they can’t prepare because of this. When it comes to corporate transformation, it’s exactly the opposite. Both sides (the startups and the corporation) must do their homework. Before and after the accelerator.

In fact, the accelerator should be no different than normal business Read more »

Posted by & filed under Accelerator, Corporations, Human Resources, innovating, Innovation, Marketing, Product development.

How to renew corporations with startups

A whitepaper by Nestholma

Corporations need to renew themselves, and one of the best ways to do that is by working with startups. But that’s easier said than done. Corporations need to understand what they want to get out of the collaboration. They need to understand what they’re getting into. And they need to understand what their options are.

At Nestholma we discuss with many people from corporations. And very often we end up in the same discussions. Those are great conversations: we get to understand the concerns that people have. We also get to see what gaps they have, when it comes to working with startups.

That’s why we decided to put together this whitepaper. In it

  • I dive into what makes working with startups worthwhile for corporations.
  • Take a look beyond the flashy surface: corporations can benefit in branding, innovation and learning.
  • I also explore different ways that corporations engage with startups.
  • I finally dwell into what makes some accelerators more successful, for a particular corporation.

The whitepaper is packed with insights. You can skim through it quickly, and discover new angles for your collaborations. Or you can peruse it. In that case, prepare for a lot of content. You’ll understand what makes some collaborations successful. You’ll also understand why others end up a mere stunt.

Download the Nestholma whitepaper

Corporations need to renew themselves. One of the best ways to do it is by working with startups. This white paper explores the benefits of branding, innovation and learning. It also reviews alternatives and best practices on collaboration.

Click here to download the whitepaper.

This text is born of many discussion. Many of them within Nestholma, and many with our customers and potential customers. But publishing a whitepaper is not the end of a discussion, but the beginning of many others. I would love to hear from you! Feel free to drop me a line at [email protected] and let’s talk!

 

Related post: 4 ways working with startups can make your organization more agile and innovative