25 best corporate brands for start-ups to work with revealed

Nesta, in partnership with Startups.co.uk, has unveiled Europe's 25 Corporate Startup Stars, an exclusive ranking of big firms collaborating with start-ups

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The first-ever ranking of the top European corporations working with start-ups has been unveiled today by UK innovation foundation Nesta and the Startup Europe Partnership (SEP), in association with official media partner Startups.co.uk.

Announced at the Startup Europe Summit in Berlin, Europe’s 25 Corporate Startup Stars is an EU-backed research project which ranks the big businesses collaborating with start-ups and looks to recognise the contribution of these corporates within the start-up ecosystem.

Selected from over 70 entries, the 25 corporates included in the index were judged on the volume and quality of their activities within the start-up community such as mentoring, competitions. direct investment, and intrapreneurship programmes.

The high-profile judging panel included: Sherry Coutu, angel investor and author of The Scale-up Report; Alberto Onetti, co-ordinator of the Startup Europe Partnership; Betfair co-founder and investor Ed Wray; and Startups.co.uk’s editorial director Ian Wallis.

Intended to give start-ups a clear idea of the best corporates to approach and work with, the list named Cisco, which runs corporate venturing programme Cisco Entrepreneurs in Residence and has an investments arm valued at $2bn, the top European corporate for its work with start-ups.

Rabobank, one of the founding partners of Startup Europe Fest, which runs an online platform to connect 700 promising start-ups with entrepreneurs, and Unilever; which has invested over €550m in promising businesses, ranked in second and third place respectively.

Spanning a cross-sector of industries such as advertising, banking, and consultancy, Europe’s 25 Corporate Startup Stars 2016 are:

  1. Cisco
  2. Rabobank
  3. Unilever
  4. Telefonica
  5. Virgin
  6. Orange
  7. Telecom Italia
  8. BBVA
  9. KPN
  10. EDP
  11. KPMG
  12. RBS
  13. WPP
  14. Eneco
  15. MSD
  16. Microsoft
  17. Sky
  18. KLM
  19. Accenture
  20. SAP SE
  21. EDF
  22. Diageo
  23. BMW
  24. PWC
  25. METRO

Chris Haley, head of start-ups and new technology research at Nesta, said of the ranking:

“Europe’s 25 Corporate Startup Stars celebrates the myriad ways that corporates are now working with start-ups. The number of interactions has grown in the last five years as increasing numbers see new companies as an opportunity rather than a threat, with both learning from the other.

“We hope the ranking acts as food for thought for big businesses wanting to stay at the forefront of trends and grow their market share.”

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