Posted on 09/21/2018 via BSH Home Appliances Group

Swap asset for agility!

More and more corporations are now working with start-ups, in other words, recently founded companies with an innovative business idea and high growth potential. The aim of the collaboration: Corporations want to benefit from the ideas and agility of young entrepreneurs and drive forward innovations quickly.

There are, at the same time, also good reasons for collaboration for start-ups. Kitchen Stories co-founder Verena Hubertz recently discussed the opportunities and obstacles involved in this collaboration at the “Rhizome Connected Kitchen Conference” in Berlin, which took place at the same time as IFA. Representing Kitchen Stories, she answered several questions on collaboration between start-ups and corporations.

In what form do start-ups work with corporations today?
There are a number of possibilities. Here are just a couple of examples: A founder sets up a start-up and receives financial backing from a corporation in return for shares in the start-up. This entails close cooperation with the corporation – as in the case of the collaboration between BSH and Kitchen Stories. Or teams within a corporation have their own idea and found a start-up with support from the corporation. When a corporation founds a start-up it’s usually done through company building or a start-up accelerator. Both terms come from the start-up world: Company building is a type of business formation in which an investor actively participates in the creation of a start-up. A start-up accelerator is usually a program that supports start-ups over a few months through intensive coaching, and thus significantly speeds up the development process. Company building is often geared much more to founders within a corporation – there are, of course, also external company builder approaches. The accelerator is also geared to external start-ups.

Why should start-ups collaborate with corporations at all?
Alongside financial resources, start-ups obtain access to skills and assets that they don’t have themselves at the start, such as contacts, customer access or brand awareness. In addition, corporations often have entire departments that deal with specific problems that a start-up is unable to solve on its own. Start-ups thus receive a host of resources and benefit from them. There are, of course, also benefits for the corporations: Start-ups usually work more flexibly, are more innovative and implement ideas faster. They contribute speed and agility to the corporation.

What is your impression after around a year of collaboration between Kitchen Stories and BSH?
BSH gave us a very warm welcome in 2017. We held workshops with the new colleagues and looked at how and on which topics we could best work together. For example, we organized a joint hackathon in which programmers from Kitchen Stories coded together with programmers from BSH. For us as a fledgling company not much has changed since the investment. We are still pursuing our goals, but there are some things we can now implement faster with the combined strength of BSH. The collaboration brings a host of benefits for both sides. The vision is to actively shape the kitchen and cooking of the future and create real added value for the user. That involves connecting hardware and software via recipe integration and scaling via the Home Connect ecosystem. It’s a classic win-win situation!