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Europe’s 25 Corporate Startup Stars

Which big businesses are the best brands to for start-ups to collaborate with? We reveal the top 25 ranking in reverse order here

You’re about to discover the names of the multi-national corporates that have become Europe’s biggest start-up champions.

Over the next 25 pages, we will reveal, following extensive research carried out by UK innovation foundation Nesta on behalf of Startup Europe Partnership (SEP), which big businesses are supporting ambitious start-ups in a whole variety of ways.

From hosting events, sharing resources and funding accelerators or incubators to partnering, making investments or even acquisitions, many of the world’s largest companies are highly active in your world – and you need to know what they’re up to and which ones are creating best practice in a new world of active collaboration.

Find out who the top 25 European Corporate Startup Stars are NOW.

It’s a search – as the European media partner for Europe’s 25 Corporate Startup Stars – launched in March this year. And from Berlin at the Startup Europe Summit in June 2016, we revealed the final ranking, judged by some stellar names including Scale-up Report author and angel investor Sherry Coutu, Betfair co-founder and investor Ed Wray, and former CEO-in-residence at Microsoft and founding partner of Whitespace Ventures Andy McCartney.

As judges, we looked for evidence that the corporates were paying more than lip service to the start-up world:

  • Can they point to senior executive buy-in?
  • Do they procure products and services from start-ups?
  • Are they good payers to start-ups, including offering preferential payment terms than other suppliers?
  • Do they promote an entrepreneurial culture internally?
  • Do they stand out for the way they integrate the start-ups they collaborate with?
  • Can they share real success stories – and identify what they learnt from failures?
  • And what are they actually offering start-ups by way of programmes, resources, opportunity, investment, and routes to exit?

It was an involved and detailed process with rounds of discussion around scoring systems, weighting, and an assessment of the data and qualitative responses provided by corporates in their entries (which came from more than 70 of the world's biggest businesses).

But where has this trend for start-up collaboration come from? Why is this happening? It’s probably as simple as these three words: Innovate or die.

This stark warning is something corporates are increasingly paying attention to. Because they have to.

We’ve seen huge brands such as Kodak, Polaroid, Blockbuster, Alta Vista steamrollered into extinction by the inexorable rise of feisty challengers using new technologies to create business models in staid industries.

Music, finance, property, advertising, health have all been shaken to their core by companies that didn’t exist a decade before.

Which is why the smarter corporates have looked to the start-up scene to help them reinvent or add to their offering before it’s too late. But it is working in many start-ups’ favour. What this means for start-ups is that while self-interest may ultimately drive it, the support for early stage companies seeking to grow and seize market share, is there more than ever before.

And some corporates have embraced this new world. Rather than adopt a defensive position to protect what they ‘own’, some corporates have invited start-ups into their world knowing it could one day pay rich dividends. Far better to be with the new brand stealing market share than against it.

Start-ups are the changemakers and clever corporates know it. Over the next 25 pages we’ll share some of the great initiatives big businesses have launched and where these programmes have borne fruit for start-up entrepreneurs through much needed investment to scale or else lucrative exits.

We’ll also be publishing more detailed profiles of our top 25 soon to help you identify the best places to go to collaborate with a corporate, so watch this space!

Click the button above or below to begin the ranking…

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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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