Why do large groups use startup studios?

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321founded works with fifteen major groups to achieve, execute and succeed in their innovation process. What is it that pushes large groups to turn to startup studios? How does a startup studio work? What is a venture builder?

Why do large groups use startup studios?

In your opinion, is it a coincidence that the digital camera was not launched by Kodak and if Spotify was not born from Universal or Sony? At 321founded, we don't believe in chance. We believe in co-construction. We believe in collaboration. Since the creation of 321founded in 2019, we have worked with fifteen major groups to realization, execution and success of their innovative ideas. In this article, we come back to the reasons that push large groups to turn to startup studios to carry out their innovation process and the way in which we work, at 321founded, with these key partners.

How do startup studios contribute to corporate innovation?

The desire to innovate on the part of managers of large groups is obvious. Everyone knows how the acceleration of innovative projects can have an impact on their results and a high potential for their business. Everyone knows that these ideas open up new horizons. But all also encounter difficulties in setting them up.

However, it is not for lack of trying. Large groups have many solutions to innovate: internal labs, open innovation approaches, startup acquisitions, intrapreneurship programs, etc. While innovation approaches are multiplying, few of them are taking shape and developing.

It is from this observation that 321founded was born. Leaders have very good internal resources to launch new growth paths, but these activities are often orchestrated with a certain difficulty and results that do not live up to expectations: “ETI and CAC 40 companies have golden assets but are unable to fully and calmly take the digital turn” explains Patrick Amiel, the co-founder of 321founded.

It must be said that innovating in a large group is a big challenge. Truly innovative ideas challenge an organization's established business models, as well as decision-making processes. “Large companies that decide to innovate by starting their business internally suffer from extremely slow decision-making processes marked by innumerable steering committees. This inertia penalizes their time to market. When the plunge is about to be taken, the market has moved and it is too late.” Patrick Amiel analysis.

As for large groups that decide to go through a consulting firm or marketing agency to successfully carry out their innovation process, it is not much better: “Consulting firms will be excellent at analysing market opportunities but unable to start a business. As for marketing agencies, they will set up an unwavering strategy for you but will not be in a position to find customers.” reasons the director of 321founded.

What are the advantages for a large group of partnering with a startup studio?

In this context, startup studios are emerging as the the most entrepreneurial solution let him be. They make it possible to test ideas with a high degree of uncertainty while avoiding the need to spend precious time in internal validation processes. Major innovation projects need develop outside the company, independently. “You have to let them crash, pivot, find themselves without impacting the core business” continues Patrick Amiel. In other words, you have to leave the entrepreneurial spirit, so specific and so powerful to take over.

This is clearly our differentiating point, completes Juliette Morel. Unlike other structures that choose the profiles of former consultants, at 321founded, we are all serial entrepreneurs. Everyone put together one or two boxes. This pragmatism defines us and explains our DNA, which is strongly oriented towards operations, turnover and hypergrowth.. We are used to blank sheets, we are programmed to identify market opportunities, we are driven by a business focus, we make decisions quickly, we are not afraid to break our own nerves and above all we avoid beginner mistakes.” complete it.

In addition to the entrepreneurial mindset, startup studios are renowned for being able to mobilize the best profiles very quickly for this or that vertical. Successful startups were set up by entrepreneurs who knew how test, adapt, organize quickly to develop but who also knew how to surround themselves with hardened entrepreneurs. This ability to attracting the best entrepreneurs then placing them at the head of the startups created is an undeniable asset.

In short, Major groups are turning to startup studios for agility and entrepreneurial freedom necessary for the expression and execution of innovation. This collaboration is based on the execution know-how of entrepreneurs and on the firepower of major groups. The example of Nestlé, which is among the few to have succeeded in disrupting its business model with Nespresso, is the perfect example of this idea. Indeed, one of the key elements of this success is based on the fact of having developed the project in an external and autonomous structure.

Startup studio and large group: co-creation and co-responsibility

In this large groups/startup studios relationship, it's all about co-creation and co-responsibility, as Patrick Amiel points out:”At 321founded, we refrain from using the very word “customer”, preferring that of partner. This nuance changes the profound nature of our relationships.” The members of 321founded are in fact all aligned on this point: the very idea of supporting corporations in their innovation process requires breaking the customer/supplier relationship. It is the ultimate condition for collaboration. Exchanges are regular and transparent. ”Our main challenge is to succeed in involving corporate women in our reasoning, in transmitting our methodology to them, in leading them on the entrepreneurial path.” explains Juliette Morel, chief of venture design at 321founded, stressing that the aim of this collaboration is fundamentally to manage to share your beliefs in order to create membership.

It must be said that each has to contribute to the other. Beyond their ability to identify business problems Because of their knowledge of the market, major groups provide a Unfair Advantage, that is, a differentiating element that is not easy to copy or acquire. ”This can be, for example, a powerful data history, a strong brand or even a solid physical distribution network” specifies Juliette Morel. In short, any element that can be activated in concrete terms, which allows us to go further and more quickly and contributes to optimizing the success of the company.”

As for startup studios, they bring agile methods of designing solutions and exploring markets in a rapid iterative approach. They bring their external critical perspective of the idea as well as a Way of Think different. Thanks to their expertise in rapidly testing a new market and identifying a market fit, they are able to saving businesses time and money while helping them learn new ways of thinking fromExperienced entrepreneurs.

How does a startup studio work?

To find the idea with high potential and transform it into a real business, 321founded applies a methodology in 3 phases During which 321founded positions itself as a co-shareholder and co-pilot.

1 - Qu’est-ce qu’un venture design ?

La première phase dure deux à trois mois. Les venture designers ont pour mission d’étudier de nouvelles opportunités de business avant de prendre une décision de lancement ou non. Une fois l’idée business validée, il est ensuite question d’analyser le go to market. “Cela consiste à vérifier point par point les paramètres qui permettent au produit ou au service d'être lancé avec succès sur le marché. Élaborer la stratégie pour s’imposer et se différencier sur le marché est une étape clé de cette première phase. En plus de valider qu'il y a une opportunité de marché, il faut se poser la question de comment on prend le marché concrètement ? Avec quels partenaires stratégiques ? Quelle équipe ? ” explique Juliette Morel, chief of venture design chez 321founded.

2- La phase de venture building

C’est ensuite l’équipe Build qui prend le relais avec pour mission de mettre un CEO par interim à la tête de l’entreprise créée. Le rôle de ce dernier consiste à réunir une équipe, à mettre une V1 en ligne et d’aller chercher les premiers clients. Très concrètement, cette phase vise à construire le produit et à le lancer sur le marché pour acquérir des utilisateurs. Une business review est organisée chaque semaine. Un board se réunit tous les deux mois pour prendre les décisions stratégiques. Lors de ces moments clés, une personne du grand groupe est présente. “Il s’agit de la personne qui porte le chemin de l’innovation dans le grand groupe ; Cela peut-être le directeur innovation, le directeur M&A, le directeur digital & produit ou encore le dirigeant” détaille Romain Ledru-Mathe, cofondateur de 321founded.  

3- La phase de scale 

Vient ensuite la phase de scale, lors de laquelle 321founded sélectionne un CEO associé au capital et le place à la tête de l’entreprise créée. Il a alors pour mission de gérer le changement d'échelle, grâce à une stratégie d'accélération de la croissance, en particulier à l'international. “C’est bien nous qui allons chercher le dirigeant. Nous gérons à 100% le recrutement du CEO ; les grands groupes n’ont pas à s’en soucier” précise Romain Ledru-Mathe, cofondateur de 321founded.  

Cette méthodologie a séduit une quinzaine de partenaires corporates, à l’instar de Brittany Ferries, qui a lancé avec 321founded une nouvelle plateforme pour voyager autrement et de PMU, qui y a vu l’opportunité d’avancer rapidement dans le domaine du Web3. En faisant appel aux startup studios, les grands groupes répondent à des enjeux de vélocité (tester vite et mettre en place le projet), d’intégration (intégrer un nouveau business dans l’entreprise sans que celui-ci n’abîme le business actuel) et de responsabilité (préserver le patrimoine historique de l’entreprise et les clients actuels).

Les freins potentiels à la collaboration grands groupes / startup studios

Si les avantages à passer par un startup studio pour mener à bien une démarche d'innovation semblent clairs pour Patrick Amiel, il rappelle tout de même que ce genre de collaboration peut au début effrayer les grands groupes peu habitués à “commencer from scratch” et plus accoutumés à mener des projets à plus grande échelle. Cette prise de conscience est essentielle pour que la collaboration avec le partenaire corporate se passe bien. Sans oublier les discussions à mener pour leur faire accepter d’ouvrir le capital à des tiers : “Bien évidemment, comme dans toutes démarche d'innovation, il y a un risque de perdre de l’argent. Mais il y a surtout un risque d’apprendre énormément.” 

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