Corporate Innovation

Create a clear customer relationship between the startup and the corporate

Instead of wanting to marry both worlds of startups and corporates together forcibly, it takes a translator so that both can stay as they are and play to their strengths.
5
Min Read
May 21, 2021

Corporate employees will not work like in the startup. Startup founders should not adapt to corporate processes.

Instead, the goal is a clear customer relationship between the startup and the industry, allowing the startup to grow and bring new relevant solutions to the enterprise.

Instead of wanting to marry both worlds together forcibly, it takes a translator so that both can stay as they are and play to their strengths. 

Wayra office entrance

Wayra Germany, as such a translator, is working to uncover the needs of the group and its customers and find the right startups (exploration). These are then brought to Wayra with a concrete, paid project in the group and possibly supported in the further scaling (execution). 

We only get active if we can secure top tier commitment from the board, manpower and budget from the management layers below, and a high probability of winning the big corporate as a client in a lasting commercial relationship.

Our model consists in particular of the following factors:

  • Process

Clear KPIs measure innovation projects with startups (and also without). This is possible, although it is more complex and therefore usually avoided. Only in this way can the activities be justified in the long term and be anchored in the process.

  • Strategy

Innovation with (and without) startups will be part of the innovation strategy at the decision-making level. Innovation is thus strategically anchored and contributes to the group's success.

  • Organization

Startups and other open innovation partners are systematically sought by revealing the needs of relevant stakeholders in the group. Working with startups or innovation projects is part of the goal definition. This anchors the topics organisationally.

With these principles, the accelerator model changes radically: instead of being as far as possible from the core business — more or less randomly sourcing as many startups as possible — 2/3 of the process takes place within the group, turning it around but keeping its autonomy, which is key to its speed.


Needs are identified within all business units, and stakeholders are identified as sponsors and promoters for the startups. 


The quantity is thus more minor. The relevance, however clearly higher. Since these startups can then directly deliver tangible added value, investment tends to be secondary — it can be made if necessary but is not the goal per se. Because value is not increased through investment but rather through the concrete solutions of the startups, a B2B technology that can be scaled over millions of customers or billions of data points can rapidly impact all organization layers.

In this way, we also have a clear business case: We invest in our activities and achieve a positive return for the group by attaching startups' innovations into our core business. 

How close or far away from the core business these solutions always depend on the needs of the business units — completely irrelevant topics and technologies are not addressed, even if they are full of hype. 

In this case, we serve both sides as a shit umbrella to prevent loss of time, effort and resources.

It may not sound as sexy as an agile lab that disrupts a massive transformative “on edge” of the core business. But it brings lasting success for both corporations and startups. And isn’t that what counts when the innovation curtain falls?

Learn more about Wayra Accelerator Program.

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Written by
Christian Lindener

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Corporate Innovation