Innovation DeepDive: Working with Startups

June 29, 2017

Wednesday 28th of June, the TNWxAccenture Innovation DeepDive about working with startups took place at TQ, one of the leading startup hubs in the Netherlands. The Innovation DeepDive shows companies how a startup-corporate collaboration might open new doors to innovation. Key take away: finding the right partner can be tricky and is tremendously ambiguous. The general advice is to take action, visit events, activate your personal network and in case you have been able to initiate a collaboration, make sure to involve C-level leadership to cater for top-down commitment.


Collaboration in the now

Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten opens the afternoon with an inspiring word to the public: “Survival of the fittest is often misinterpreted, actually, those who are most adaptable to change survive”. The message is delivered. One way to make yourself more adaptable, is to team up with the next gen delighters. If you want to be meaningful in the new, you must collaborate in the now!

innovation deepdive

Successful collaborations

Four startup-corporate couples shared their experience on the collaboration trajectories that they’ve lived through in the past couple months.



This three-month collaboration was formed at tech-hub TQ, where Ligo and ABN AMRO both had offices. ABN AMRO introduced Ligo to potential clients via a marketing campaign, mainly SME’s that needed high quality legal services. The key success factor here is the fact that ABN AMRO appointed a ‘startup liaison’, who acted as ambassador within the company.  In addition, the biggest challenge now is to create a follow-up opportunity.


Invoice sharing x Accenture

‘We are working together on extremely boring accounts payable stuff’, is how Jeroen Vonk from Invoice Sharing introduces the collaboration. Accenture distributes the accounting robot, that could result in 50x more efficient processes. On the question how Invoice Sharing prefers to work with corporates, Jeroen is clear: “we always start off with an experiment instead of a project, which releases pressure and creates room for failure”.



Your package delivered in a large mailbox at your house, even when you are not home. MYPO aims to solve an issue for every online shopper, package deliverer, and logistic company. The concrete plan of MYPO was the decisive factor for DHL, but the personal click is very important as well.


Otly x Centraal Beheer

A collaboration to help kids learn about money and teach parents about allowances. This shared ambition is what drove the partnership. Although Otly went direct to market first, they found that the values of Centraal Beheer aligned well with theirs, resulting in a broader reach and and bigger impact. Centraal Beheer benefited from more brand awareness in financial services. Also here, both companies indicate the pleasant personal connection as an important success factor.

innovation deepdive

Finding the right partner

You just collaborate with the company that suits you best… sounds easy huh? How do you get in touch with the right companies and how do you then determine a mutual beneficial partnership? An open discussion led to three main conclusions:


  1. Get in touch

Corporates want to find startups that solve their innovation challenge, startups want to be found. You can search for connections on the web, for instance on LinkedIn. However, personal connections are extremely important. Go to networking events, increase your chances of bumping into the right person. There are also more structured ways of getting in touch, like using services from companies experienced in establishing these connections.


  1. Activate your network

Found the right company? Chase people you know within the organization, it does not matter who it is. Just make sure that they talk to colleagues, and that it reaches C-level management. Your name being mentioned during drinks might be that one small thing you need.


  1. Share a common goal

Being able to share a passion and work towards the same goal is that what makes a collaboration worthwhile. A passion for innovation is often a key driver of startup-corporate collaboration. MYPO chose DHL especially for their openness to innovation, and also Invoice Sharing collaborates with Accenture because of the pro-change attitude.

innovation deepdive


The Innovation DeepDive aimed at startup-corporate collaborations does not just come out of the blue. The Next Web and Accenture themselves experience the perks of working together. The companies have different backgrounds, but complement each other in many areas. The shared vision in this collaboration is helping other companies to strive towards innovation together. Are you interested to know how we can help you? Contact Pieter Paul van Oerle or Merle Freeke.


Looking back at this Innovation DeepDive

Favorable chances of survival, considering the openness to change that these companies have. Four corporate-startup duos shared their experience and the second part of the afternoon existed of vibrant speeddating sessions with startups: Ligo,, MYPO, Invoice Sharing, BuyBay, Decoded, Otly, Shake-on, Vainu, and Impraise. The open, informal setting led to fast connections. Bart Gramberg – Innovation Consultant at KPMG – already brought Shake-on in contact with one of his clients, because he saw great potential for the wristbands that make networking at events a delightful consumer experience.

Impression of the day

See below all the photos of the Innovation DeepDive: Working with Startups

Accenture Innovation Awards