2019 was a milestone for our company because it consolidated us as a “one-stop-shop” for building corporate startups. A specialty we’re quite passionate about.
We’ve made some great strides during the last few months, including the expansion of our team, becoming a more diversified company and taking our first step towards global expansion with the opening of our Amsterdam office.
It’s been quite an exciting ride for all of us here at Bundl, and I wanted to take this opportunity to give you a glimpse of where we are in our journey and where we plan to go in 2020.
A Formula for Innovation Excellence
During the course of 2019, we saw our team of Venture Builders double in size, each new member bringing in their own one-of-a-kind combination of skills in design, marketing, and Innovation. And above all else, they’re all true entrepreneurs.
We also managed to set up a world-class line-up of experts to complement our team of venture builders, focusing on 3 key areas during the hiring process: Growth hacking, intrapreneurship, and financial modeling & business planning.
The true magic in innovation excellence happens when you merge creativity with data analysis.
Whether you’re working on early validation experiments or the launch phase of a Corporate Startup, it’s imperative not to under-estimate the importance of defining and testing your business assumptions one by one.
This brings me to our newest growth hackers: Paolo Margari, Gilles Waterschoot, and Sem Janssens. Their talent and expertise in testing and optimizing, enable our Corporate Startups to define and personalize our value propositions, making them more accessible to our carefully chosen target audiences.
Attracting and training Intrapreneurs
The success of a Corporate Venture is extremely dependent on the skillset of the team that’s running the show. With that in mind, we actively cultivate intrapreneurship and creativity within our teams by:
Setting up and running corporate incubators and accelerators
Running recruitment projects for corporate start-up CEO’s
Teaching dozens of intrapreneurs new skills and innovation tools
This type of activity helps teams become more agile and encourages the successful use of techniques like design thinking and lean startup.
Financial modeling and business planning
Even the most disruptive ideas won’t make it past initial investment rounds without solid financial planning and detailed insights about market size and the competitive landscape.
In 2020, Timmy Baert will be in charge of leading our business model sprints as well as establishing clear timelines and milestones for our various Corporate Ventures. His efforts will help us make faster and better decisions in terms of team allocation, financial gaps, cost structure, and business models.
Developing a global point of view
During the last 10 years, I’ve been fortunate enough to travel the world and work with a wide array of international colleagues and partners, many of whom I still consider my close friends. If there was one thing I was afraid of when I left my last position at Microsoft, it was that I would miss the wonderfully diverse atmosphere.
As it turns out, in 2019 I got to welcome 18 new colleagues with 10 different nationalities on their first day at Bundl (that without counting all of our fantastic interns). This mix of cultures, languages and work experiences from across the world is radically impacting our ability to think globally and preparing us for an ever-growing number of international projects.
2019 also brought us the opportunity to work with dozens of brilliant international intrapreneurs from some of the world’s most innovative and admired companies (HSBC, Beiersdorf, and Asics just to name a few). Every single encounter, sprint, and meeting has helped shape us into what we are today: An organization with a global point of view, ready to scale internationally.
During the last quarter of 2019, we were able to take the first step in our journey towards international expansion with the launch of our Amsterdam office. Our team in the Netherlands includes Jelmer Peerbolte, Dan Palmer, Jeroen van den Boom, Antti Rantanen, and Nicolas Cap, all ready to take on the challenge and hit the ground running.
The newly assembled team has a unique mix of experiences in the field of corporate innovation. They all know the local market and have the entrepreneurial mindset needed to scale our activities in The Netherlands and beyond.
I’d be remiss if I said 2019 was all progress and highlights. We did experience some of the typical challenges that come with rapid growth and expansion, but we managed to overcome those obstacles by working hard and being open to change.
Having successfully reached (and in some cases surpassed) our goals for 2019, I’d like to share our top three operational priorities for 2020:
- Keep growing our team – During the next 12 months, we plan to recruit 12-15 new hires with various skillsets. At the same time, we’ll be building several autonomous workgroups with the knowledge and expertise to take ownership of their own hiring, onboarding, and career development goals.
- Foster a lifelong learning culture – We plan to incentivize the creation of personalized learning paths for every member of our team. Part of the plan includes actively encouraging the use of the new skillsets in both internal and external projects.
- Scale our unique culture, values and quality standards – This is a particularly important goal because more and more of our team members will be working outside of our Bundl HQ.
12 months from now, I hope to be able to share the progress we made in 2020 and tell you all about our priorities for 2021.
For now, allow me to end by thanking the Bundl team, our customers and our amazing partners for making 2019 the most thrilling and energizing year so far in my professional career.