About Nesta

Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

Better collaboration with startups: Case studies for corporates

What's the best way to collaborate with startups? What other corporates are doing in the field?

If your corporate needs inspiration to successfully engage with startups or would like to have an overview of how other corporate are embracing this opportunity, you will find these examples of corporate-startup collaboration quite useful. 

Best programmes to achieve defined goals

The case studies below are the result of more than 40 interviews with corporates’ CIOs, Startup Programme Managers and Executives. To make your read easier, we have divided the case studies according to the strategic goals your corporate wishes to achieve and you can access these through our Winning Together guide. 

  • Rejuvenating Corporate Culture: Dell, Google, Rabobank
  • Innovating Big Brands: Telefónica, Accenture and Microsoft
  • Solving Business Problems:  Unilever, Diageo, glh Hotels
  • Expanding into Future Markets: BMW, Enel

Additionally, the blogposts series 'Lessons from Corporates' includes the most important lessons learnt corporates' programme managers and CIO have shared with us. We are sure you'll find it useful. 

Europe’s Corporate Startup Stars - Role models of collaboration

To celebrate exemplary corporate-startup collaborations and promote best practices, Nesta in collaboration with the Startup Europe Partnership awarded 25 corporates as Europe’s 25 Corporate Startups Stars

Their programmes and activities have been featured on Startups.co.uk to inspire new corporates to follow suit.

Read about Europe’s Corporate Startup Stars case studies here (e.g. 'What does Metro offer startups?'). 

How to overcome corporates’ internal barriers

Differences in culture, languages and speed are the main barriers for corporates and startups to engage in a long-term relationship. 
Another challenge for corporates to work effectively with startups are what we refer to as ‘internal barriers’. Lack of entrepreneurial culture, long processes, risk aversion and misaligned internal corporate strategy are a few examples. 

Below are some examples of case studies showing how to successfully overcome these obstacles.

  • Strategic Barriers: Infosys
  • Structural Barriers: Castrol Innoventures
  • Cultural Barriers: Coca-Cola
  • Process Barriers: Enel

To learn more about them, read Scaling Together

Photo credit: thikstock


Simona Bielli

Simona Bielli

Simona Bielli

Head of Programmes – Nesta Italia

Over the last year, Simona was working on a new exciting project that led to the foundation of Nesta Italia.

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Yann Finger

Yann is a Research Assistant in the policy and research team. His focus is on investigating policies supporting digital entrepreneurship across Europe, as part of the Startup Europe Pa…