What does professional services firm PwC offer start-ups?

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25 European Corporate Startup Stars reveals which large companies are doing the most to support new firms. These case studies highlight some specific examples of active and successful collaboration between corporates and start-ups.

A good example of…

Solving business problems with start-ups

European headquarters: PwC has a headquarters in each country of operation

Geographical reach: Global – specifically active in the UK, USA, Singapore, Australia and Luxemburg

Sector/s of interest: Artificial intelligence and robotics, analytics, blockchain and digital

Works with start-ups through:

Why does PwC work with start-ups?

Multinational professional services company PwC works with start-ups primarily to explore new opportunities and markets. As a trusted advisor, PwC aims to connect its clients with innovators that solve problems in new ways.

How does PwC work with start-ups?

From start-up businesses to seasoned entrepreneurs, PwC prides itself on connecting innovative ideas and disruptive solutions with its clients and investors.

Using its global network of 120,000 staff members, PwC spends considerable time supporting and collaborating with start-ups by running and contributing to a variety of mentoring, accelerator and incubator programmes. For example, a PwC accelerator connected technology start-up Solfyre with a leading UK bank, and this resulted in a pilot opportunity to trial technology.

PwC’s free website, Startup Journey, delivers practical advice and guidance on setting up a new business. The organisation also runs an impressive internal crowdsourcing platform, which rewards PwC staff for identifying new business opportunities.

What has PwC done to facilitate collaboration with start-ups?

PwC supports start-ups in a variety of ways through strategic partnerships with Seedcamp, StartupBootcamp and Techstars. PwC also sponsors Digital Catapult, a non-profit organisation working in the data sharing field, and Slush, Europe’s biggest start-up event.

There are a number of other initiatives within PwC that aim to facilitate and support collaboration with start-ups. These include:

  • Alliances & Special Projects, which enables PwC to explore partnership opportunities and carry out pilots of new technologies
  • Innovation Jumpstart, which helps PwC to improve the way clients work with start-ups
  • Future of Work Accelerator, overseen by PwC’s commercial innovation team

PwC is a network organisation, and regions and territories manage their own initiatives locally.

Joint business relationships between PwC and start-ups focus on finding technical platforms that can solve challenges facing clients and in-house departments. PwC is also very active in the ‘impact start-ups’ space and provides support and mentorship for early-stage companies that focus on solving social issues. Blockchain is another area PwC has a strong interest in forming partnerships around.

Success story: Solfyre 

PwC introduced the British-based cyber security pioneer Solfyre to Lloyds Bank. This resulted in an opportunity for Solfyre to pilot technology with Lloyds.

Partnerships with young companies such as Solfyre enable PwC to position itself at the forefront of innovation, and provide clients with disruptive solutions that compliment its more traditional services.


“Engaging with start-ups at different levels and in different geographical locations helps PwC to enhance its value proposition and offer effective solutions to its clients”

Andy McCartney, Corporate Startup Stars judge


What can other corporates learn from PwC about working with start-ups?
  • Strategic partnerships and a global network of collaborators enable strong connections to be made between start-ups, corporations and clients
  • A networked organisation with opportunities for different regions and territories to manage their own initiatives allows for both large-scale impact and a tailor-made approach
  • Joint business relationships between corporations and start-ups are a strong way to solve the challenges faced by both clients and in-house departments

What is PwC looking for from the start-ups it works with?

To learn more about what PwC offers start-ups, please go to the Startup journey website.

Start-ups with a solution that fits into the enterprise, artificial intelligence, blockchain or analytics spaces can contact the head of the Alliances & Special Projects initiative.

How can start-ups get involved with Diageo?

Diageo is open to working with start-ups across the business, but a good way to initially get in touch is through The Futures Team, Distill Ventures or Diageo Technology Ventures.
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Image courtesy of SVC2UK CEO Summit 2015.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 644104.

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