Vienna-based StartUs Insights is driving innovation by connecting startups and corporatesVallabh Rao
StartUs Insights is the innovation and intelligence unit of StartUs, a professional network connecting the European startup community, and helps corporates gain a competitive advantage with data-driven intelligence.
David R Prasser, StartUs Insights’ founder and CEO, came to Vienna, Austria, in late 2013 to look for a technical co-founder for his project Streetview Photography, a global community of street photographers. He found it really tough to find the person he was looking for, because to find that one person, you first have to meet everyone else. If you’re at an event and there’s potentially one out of 500 people of interest to your current and particular needs, then you potentially have to talk to all 500 to be 100 percent sure you have met the right one. This is inefficient and for the most part impossible.
Interestingly enough, the same goes for corporates who want to innovate with startups. For them, however, this process is even harder as they usually look for specific technologies and startups, which are difficult to come by.
Out of this, the idea of a united startup community arose – aiming to connect founders and startup enthusiasts as well as corporates and startups to ultimately foster innovation and empower people to realise their visions. At this time, David met Klaus Furtmüller, the current CTO of StartUs and former Co-founder of absolventen.at. The two quickly decided to build StartUs Insights in 2014. Since then, the team has grown to 29 professionals consisting of serial entrepreneurs, industry experts, research analysts, and growth hackers, all driven by entrepreneurship and innovation.
“Innovation drives competitive advantage. Startups are in the front seat,” David says.
“We focus on supporting corporates to gain a competitive advantage by providing them with data-driven intelligence on startup-driven innovation and technology. One way to achieve this is Innovation Scouting, through which we are able to identify emerging technologies, cutting-edge startups, and teams that are on the forefront of digitalisation in industries such as automotive, warehousing, civil engineering, and healthcare, among others,” David says.
“The second service we offer is Open Innovation. We enable co-development with selected startups, innovators and skill teams through solutions like Startup Calls. This method allows corporations to establish direct contact with relevant startups. A Startup Call can be executed in form of a competition, an innovation challenge, or a partnership. Magna, Brisa, Borealis, Accenture, and Siemens are a few of the 100+ companies already trusting our services,” he adds.
StartUs launched in early 2014 and is now one of Europe’s leading startup and innovation platforms, counting over 30,000 members, 300 ambassadors, and 40+ partner organisations in 60 European cities. It reaches 400,000-plus innovators every month. From a corporate perspective, the team says they have analysed more than 2,00,000 startups and emerging companies, and executed 40-plus successful startup calls with 10,000-plus applications per year. StartUs is bootstrapped so far.
“We are rooted in the startup community itself and consider ourselves a ‘Startup for Startups’. It means a lot to us to help the startup scene develop and mature. One way to achieve this is to enable the collaboration with established corporates – a solution from which both sides gain a lot. Startups are able to learn from corporate partners with years of track record and get access to the market while corporations are equipped with disruptive technology and achieve an entrepreneurial mindset, paying off as a competitive advantage. Like Jamie Notter said ‘Innovation is change that unlocks new value’ – and we aim to bring this value to corporates and startups alike,” says David on his plans for the future.