International corporation preparing itself to absorb startups? Searching for early stage startups, only within few narrow areas? Sounds crazy? But it’s not! hub:raum Krakow, the Innovation Hub for European startups, powered by Deutsche Telekom, searched for innovative approach to accelerating startups. And found it – based on years of experience with five editions of WARP Accelerator and two editions of Challenge Up! program. New concept of “WARP Sprints” assumes: internal preparation of DT group, three verticals each quarter, faster process with more accurate feedback for startups.
Cooperation between big corporations and startups is not an easy road. It is rather the opposite – both sides face many bumps and grinds along the way. It is also true that one need another. Work need to be done by both parts. This is only one of the lessons learned by hub:raum Krakow. During five editions over 3 000 of startups have been evaluated and 58 teams from 18 countries were invited to take part in the program.
Why changing anything?
WARP Accelerator helped many startups and allowed hub:raum Krakow to do amazing projects with selected teams. But it also helped to understand the needs of startups, the needs of corporation and to find a solution that will bring those two different worlds together to create ground-breaking innovation. New WARP formula is also the result of experience gained during programs conducted so far, like ChallengUp! – joint program with Cisco and Intel. The crucial thing in corporate venturing should be appropriate preparation of corporation to absorb innovations and new products. Creating internal ecosystem (stakeholders, internal customers and processes) in advance makes the process of new products’ commercialization easier and less onerous. Not only startups should adapt to corporation’s requirements but also company’s should itself at first get ready for searching, incubating and absorbing innovation.
Another crucial thing is the timeframe of the whole program. Working with startups we need to remember that most of the time their resources are limited. Therefore the only successful model for working with them is to operate fast, to prototype, to lead iterations and based on this to make fast and accurate decisions. And that is sprint model. – We believe that this can be very pragmatic approach and therefore present new quality on the market – after one month since the start of cooperation with startup we will have the clear situation. Therefore, together with startups, we will make a decision whether to further cooperate or not. And if so on which terms – so that both sides can benefit the most. We will be partners during this whole process. The aim is to learn very fast during this month and gain as much as it is possible and even some more – said Jakub Probola, Head of hub:raum for CEE region.
Carefully selected verticals each quarter
Another big change comparing to other corporate programs for startups is wisely selecting main focus areas for each quarter. First the organizing team carries out specific research within the Deutsche Telekom Group. Later on they identify the most important for corporation and both its’ internal and external client’s fields of particular interest. Recognizing those verticals allow to prepare the corporation to absorbing innovation within those specific areas. This means better feedback for startups – as the company knows exactly how the market works, its’ own requirements as well as the needs of client’s.
For this quarter hub:raum Krakow, after careful research done within DT Group, chose three verticals for first edition of WARP Sprints – Smart City, Logistics and Transportation and Omnichannel. Solutions for Smart Cities become increasingly important issue. The reason is continuous development of cities. As a result cities will face bigger challenges connected with e.g. the management of energy, sewage system or waste. The answer to these challenges could be implementation of innovations that could help to manage increasingly larger cities. In turn, the area of Logistics and transportation has been crucial for a long time but now, when we want to move and receive things even faster and cheaper, this industry faces challenges that could also be solved by innovations – highlights Rafał Wróblewski, Business Development Manager in charge of Smart City in T-Mobile. Radosław Sałata, Sales Director in T-Mobile adds - Omnichannel allows the smooth transition between different channels of sale – whether offline or online. This permits to meet the needs of the customer – so that the process and shopping experience are intuitive, fast and comfortable. This type of innovation build competitive advantage of the company. In T-Mobile we search for innovation within Omnichannel and we are ready to cooperate with startups active in this area.
Openness and innovative approach are great qualities which can translate for the way how corporations work. If one is searching for innovations he must be ready to change itself. Deutsche Telekom with help from hub:raum Krakow is an example how to do that – they start with internal preparation so that they can help startups faster and better than ever before with new WARP Sprints.
Find out more and apply at http://www.warpaccelerator.com.
About hub:raum Krakow
hub:raum Krakow is the innovation hub for early-stage startups created by Deutsche Telekom Group in April 2013. It focuses on supporting innovative businesses from Central and Eastern Europe by connecting team, vision, and expertise with the corporate power of the world’s leading integrated telecommunications companies. It is achieved by offering the smart money (commercialization and go-to-market through an access to over 150M Deutsche Telekom customers), comprehensive package of seed funding (up to 300.000€ for 10-20% of equity), co-working space, mentoring and Deutsche Telekom assets.
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