What are large companies hoping for?

A growing number of large international companies are developing strategies for cooperating with startups. But what exactly are large companies hoping to achieve by working with these startups?

Analyzing the 100 Challenges posted by major partners of Viva Technology – the global event for innovation, startups, and digital transformation taking place in Paris from 15 to 17 June 2017 – gives us some indication of the expectations of large companies.

1/ Nearly half of the challenges posed by VivaTech’s partners are related to the user experience (UX). LVMH went as far as to launch an Innovation Award in this specific field. This reflects both new consumer expectations (e.g. real time, mobile, etc.) and new digital opportunities (e.g. personalization). An improved UX is not confined to online activity but extends to the real world, whether that be garages for Valeo, kitchens for Carrefour, hotel rooms for AccorHotels, racecourses for PMU, or bus stops and metro stations for the RATP.

2/ About a third of Viva Technology’s open-innovation Challenges are focused on finding new drivers of growth through startups. For example, Orange is targeting millennials with new products and launching new services in Africa and the Middle East. In energy, Engie is seeking to develop hydrogen technology and smart grids.

3/ The final reason why Viva Technology’s major partners want to cooperate with startups is to optimize their existing processes and improve operational performance. An example is Sodexo’s efforts to reduce food waste. Here, startups are counted on to disrupt well-established procedures such as healthcare clinical trials at Sanofi, HR procedures at ManpowerGroup, and industrial maintenance at Vinci Energies.

4/ The top three technologies that large companies want to explore with startups are big data (e.g. Talan); artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and augmented reality (TF1); and the Internet of Things (Cisco). So more and more large companies – among them BNP Paribas, La Poste, Google, SNCF, and Airbus – have realized the importance of startups to their digital transformation. Now all that remains is to translate these good intentions into concrete projects that benefit startups. That’s one of the key challenges for the upcoming edition of Viva Technology, which takes place in June.

Maxime Baffert

Co-managing director, Viva Technology

Full article in French at https://medium.com/@mbaffert/457b2fb4b150