WhatAVenture Intrapreneurship Study: What makes corporate startups successful

What makes corporate startups successful

Practical insights on how to be successful with your corporate startup and innovation program from 40+ leading corporates in the DACHS region.

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corporate startups intrapreneurship study

The only corporate entrepreneurship study you need to make your project a success

To successfully drive innovation is not easy, especially within a corporate environment. Innovation needs a different setting, management, and mindset than that required for the corporate’s day-to-day business. Many corporates have already realized this. Therefore, they have established innovation units, hubs or labs, and have launched intrapreneurship programs.

However, many promising innovation projects buzz around in the corporate world without any clear direction. With our study, we shed more light on how successful corporates implement radical and disruptive innovations in the corporate field.

intrapreneurship Study

Main success factors boil down to:

Getting started with the right setup

Chapter 1

OUR TIP: Evaluate the fit of the corporate startup to the corporate vision, strategy, and portfolio of the mother company from the very start of every innovation project.

Finding out early in the project if you should spin off

Chapter 2

OUR TIP: Innovation projects that are far away from the core business or operate under a different business model are likely to backslide in a corporate environment. Consider spinning them off early in the process to let them flourish.

Gaining key stakeholder commitment for your project

Chapter 3

OUR TIP: Corporates and startups operate on two different paradigms which makes stakeholder management even more critical, and challenging.

Talking about money and securing your budget

Chapter 4

OUR TIP: The success of the project heavily depends on the budget allocation. You need a corresponding budget that is well-aligned with the strategic goals, well managed and sustainable.

Building your team for success

Chapter 5

OUR TIP: Never take the team as given. It must be re-evaluated at each s tage of the project’s lifecycle.

Making innovation culture your corporate culture

Chapter 6

OUR TIP: Innovation culture is not just another buzzword. It is the fert ile ground for every innovation activity and it positively changes the entire corporate culture.

Interviews with 40+ corporates across various industries in the DACH region 

We launched the first major study of corporate startups in the DACH region (German, Austria, Switzerland and South Tyrol, Italy). The study is based on qualitative data obtained from interviewing more than 40 senior innovation managers and innovation project leads from mid-sized to large companies. In choosing the study sample, we focused on companies with more than 500 employees as well as on innovation projects of a more radical nature.

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About the authors

Johanna Zauner

Manager, Head of Knowledge Lab

Johanna strongly believes that great business ideas need great execution and she loves to help innovation teams in doing that by giving them the right tools and guidance to bring their inspirational ideas to life.

Bernadette Zrenner


With her positive energy, Bernadette always strives to combine her psychology background with business acumen to help teams on their innovation journey in validating ideas and bringing them to success. With executing scouting projects, she also finds the best startups and new technologies to drive innovation in corporates.

Philippe Thiltges

Co-Founder and CEO

Besides being Co-Founder and CEO of WhatAVenture, Philippe founded 3 more companies and supported the setup of numerous corporate spin-offs. During the last years, Philippe shaped the innovation landscape, especially in the DACH region. He supported more than 100 companies in developing and implementing sustainable innovation structures that create success with innovation.

What insights you will learn:

  • How corporates are able to develop radical business ideas next to their core activities
  • What are the key success factors and biggest obstacles to successful intrapreneurship
  • What checkpoints are critical when setting the stage for your next innovation project
  • How can you support intrapreneurship teams on their innovation journey
  • What are the biggest challenges of scaling a corporate startup

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    We are WhatAVenture

    We are WhatAVenture

    WhatAVenture is a worldwide operating innovation consulting firm. We guide new business ideas to success. The focus of our work is the combination of corporate power with startup agility. Our proven methods enable intrapreneurs to quickly validate and implement their business ideas. WhatAVenture serves both as a sparring partner for CEOs and innovation managers in creating an innovation culture, as well as an external team for the execution of new business ideas.

    Our client base ranges from energy suppliers, banks, automotive and transportation companies, to aid organizations and international universities.

    Do you want to be successful with innovation?


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