In our first blog post, we spoke about the first meeting between the 20 innovation managers from Orange. Everyone came away from this first meeting with an enthusiastic feeling.
That’s why we organised this second morning of speed-dating, this time open to outside startups. Two weeks later, 25 startups were ready to pitch to the biggest French Telco Company!
Le Camping Manager Alice Zagury and François Dufour, in charge of the Orange Startup program (the duo behind the close relationship between Le Camping and Orange) started out by reminding everyone of the fundamentals of collaboration between big groups and startups.
While in France we often tend to think in terms of a “win-lose” situation, Alice underlined the winning principle of “win-win”…
A potential great deal
Despite the difference in cultures and time-frames, startups and big groups both have a great deal to gain. Conclusive evidence is to be found with Doctrackr from Season 1: their meeting with SNCF and DSI management proved decisive and they managed, in a matter of months, to go from prototype to a workable product, boosted by their collaboration.
To end this introduction speech, Paul-François Fournier, Director of the Orange Technocentre, talked about the ambition of this place which is dedicated to innovation and technology development. “We are partnering with giants such as Google and Facebook, and smaller names such as Deezer but also some start-ups. There is a real understanding of the future and a desire to change the world”, he explained.
Fundamentals of a good pitch
Before kicking off introductions and the speed-dating session, Phil Waknell, master in the art of the pitch, reminded those present of the fundamentals of a good pitch (clarity, structure, poise, quoting Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: “Perfection is finally attained, not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away”).
“We’re made to love stories!” he hammered home, telling of an experiment carried out by Daniel Pink in “A Whole New Mind” – MRI scans showed that listening to a sequence of facts illicits very little cerebral reaction, whereas the very same facts placed within a story awake two previously sleepy hemispheres!
This lesson must be understood to the letter by startups, who have so little time to convince.
The foundations were laid to kick off the pitching session, each CEO gave a one-minute pitch, including where they were at and what shape any collaboration with Orange could take.
Bankin, which simplifies online banking via a control panel that enables users to control their finances via iPhone ; Kawet, with their technology aimed at reducing the cost and complexity of the creation and management of mobile applications for larger companies and Mesagraph, a tool analyzing flows on social networks – which has just signed up with TV channel Canal+ – represented Season 1 while Qunb, with its intelligent data aggregator and LoungeUp, a service offered to hoteliers to improve guest satisfaction using the iPad, represented Season 2.
Among the others, many sectors have been covered: specialized Social Networks and Geolocation with Nighters ; Social Entrepreneurship and “Gamification” with HumanoGames ; Sharing and Collaborative Economy with SAVdesMarques or E-loue ; Cloud and Document Back-up with Sush.io ; Web Tools to sort multiple information sources generated each day by the web, such as Liiistit.
Tools to help professionals take the sometimes difficult turn towards the Web, such as Homeloc, which has developed an all-in-one solution to help farm-stay, B&B and seasonal renters to increase their online visibility;
Enriched World and Digitization trend was represented as well with Snapeous, an application to allow you to connect real objects to the internet by scanning the barcode or the QR code attached to everyday objects, or Azwul, which has developed a solution making it easy for companies to use an electronic signature for outbound PDF documents.
Then it was up to the folks from Orange to introduce themselves, a good opportunity for them to explain the problems they’re confronted with in their sector and in what way collaborating with a startup might help them: “Not unrefined technology, but services”, touching different areas like social networks, the Cloud, client relations, accessibility, entertainments and services for SMEs.
The speed-dating session then had everyone discussing and sharing their thoughts on the possibilities that were outlined during the pitches. Now, only time will tell what comes of it all.