“Corporate Startup Meetup” in Stuttgart – with etventure and W&W Digital GmbH
11. March 2016
This week, the third Corporate Startup Meetup was held at the Accelerate Spaces in Stuttgart. Nils-Christoph Ebsen, Managing Director of W&W Digital GmbH, presented the joint venture between Wüstenrot & Württembergische and etventure as an example of digital transformation best practice in a corporate environment. As of recently, etventure has its own office space at the Accelerate Spaces and it also acted as a sponsor for the event.
How can startups and corporates work together and have a mutually beneficial relationship? This is a question being considered by more and more companies. A recent study that etventure carried out with the support of the market research institute GfK also shows that nearly one in three companies are already working together with startups. The reason for these collaborations is that companies hope to improve their access to technology as well as increasing and speeding up their innovation. This question was also discussed by around 80 participants at the third Corporate Startup Meetup, which took place on March 8 at the Accelerate Spaces in Stuttgart. The event featured the presentation of innovative projects and examples of successful collaboration between corporations and founders.
W&W Digital GmbH as a shining example
“A shining example of this new kind of partnership was presented by Nils-Christoph Ebsen,” writes Andreas Geldner, Editor of the Stuttgarter Zeitung newspaper, in his report about the event. The Managing Director of W&W Digital GmbH presented the joint venture between Wüstenrot & Württembergische and etventure. The joint venture, which was founded at the end of 2015, recently introduced what is already its second digital business model to the market. “We want W&W Digital GmbH to be a combination of the best of both cultures,” Ebsen explained. This involves the digital expertise and entrepreneurial mindset of etventure being united with the decades of industry experience that W&W brings to the table.
The success that W&W Digital GmbH has enjoyed comes down to the key success factors of being fast and user-focused. “Business success is the result of resource deployment and speed,” explained Nils-Christoph Ebsen. Yet the established companies, often called the “Old Economy”, are ignoring the second factor and are therefore also neglecting a crucial element required for exponential growth. It is also important that the development of new business models is centered around the user. The paper’s editor Geldner describes the approach taken by W&W Digital GmbH: “When undertaking the market tests of new digital products, they did exactly what startups do – they literally went and knocked on the doors of potential customers to interview them and find out what problems men and women on the street encounter in their day to day lives.” In contrast, it happens all too often in the traditional insurance business that products are created without any customer integration at all.
In this context, digitization offers the opportunity to take a significantly more data-oriented and therefore more focused approach to developing new business models. There is no longer any need for success projections to be based on traditional market research – or on the company’s own thoughts (or wishes). Instead, digital prototypes can be used to quickly and easily assess customer behavior. The goal here should be to develop a functioning product within a short timeframe. “The key is to focus on execution,” says Ebsen. The goal is not the journey. Instead, the outcome should be the main focus. According to Ebsen, the following general rule applies with digitization: “It doesn’t matter whether these new products cannibalize your own, existing business. Doing this to ourselves is better than others doing it.”
New etventure office in Stuttgart
The Corporate Startup Meetup was sponsored by etventure. Since the beginning of March, etventure now also has its own office at the Accelerate Spaces in Stuttgart. By moving into this office space right next to the Feuersee in the heart of Stuttgart, etventure has opened its eighth location in Germany and – alongside Berlin, Hamburg and Munich – its fourth branch in the country. It is envisioned that the new office in the capital of Baden-Württemberg will enhance the geographical proximity to etventure’s corporate clients in this region, such as Wüstenrot & Württembergische and Daimler Financial Services.
“As well as being one of the major startup regions in Germany, the Stuttgart region is also home to a wide range of small and medium-sized enterprises and large corporations, which makes it a particularly attractive business location. The opening of the office in Stuttgart is therefore a logical continuation of our growth trajectory,” explains Philipp Depiereux, Founder and Managing Director of etventure.
Here are a few photos of the new office and the etventure and W&W Digital GmbH teams in the Accelerate Spaces: