Deloitte is an established name in today’s world of consulting. It is one of the big four accounting organizations, with an enormous professional services network, as measured by revenue and number of professionals. The corporate’s offered services are divided into six main categories, namely audit, tax, consulting, legal, risk management and financial advisory. With the recorded number of employees exceeding the 260,000 mark in 2017 accompanied by a global revenue USD 38.8 billion, it is clear that we’re dealing with a renowned company. In this article we zoom in on a specific team within financial advisory services department in Amsterdam, called Ecosystem and Corporate Venturing Advisory (ECVA).
The start-up within Deloitte
Originally launched through Deloitte’s corporate incubator, “Deloitte Innovation”, ECVA was initially called “Fast Ventures”. During this period, the idea of Fast Ventures was to create a search platform that mapped all start-ups and scale-ups. After their start-up period, Fast Ventures was relocated to Deloitte Financial Advisory (FA), where the offering has been further developed. During this development, Fast Ventures changed its name to, the more accurate, Ecosystem and Corporate Venturing Advisory, as the service had expanded its offering to a much more complete product.
Nowadays, ECVA guides and advises organizations in the shaping and execution of their ecosystem and corporate venturing strategy. In other words, the team helps companies to map relevant ventures, activities, innovations, etc., in the market of their interest and consequently supports them in developing a strategy to engage with this ecosystem. More specifically, they guide organizations from the beginning to the end of the venturing process by, for instance, identifying growth domains or structuring and executing corporate venture capital partnerships in a way that is win-win for all parties involved. Consequently, the work of the ECVA team is diverse, requiring knowledge related to corporate activities, more technical and numerical aspects, as well as strategic consulting and innovation/tech aspects.
The team works closely together with other departments within Deloitte, e.g. M&A and Strategy Consulting, to enable the offering of the full-range corporate venturing services. The competitive advantage of ECVA is its huge network and complete service offering, with the ability to focus intensely on each part of the process. However, the brains behind ECVA believe that the only way to offer the complete service aimed at corporates is by approaching potential corporate-start-up partnerships from both sides of the spectrum. Therefore, ECVA engages a lot with start-ups through Deloitte’s network, to understand their desires and positioning. A lot of start-ups still view corporates in a competitive framework, yet when their businesses require funding or alternative resources for further development, ECVA reveals how the benefits of corporate investors can be utilized without compromising the start-up’s own goals.
“Currently, the corporate venturing industry is entering a next phase”, says Wanda van Kampen, senior consultant for ECVA. “What you see is that a lot of corporates have been experimenting with venturing. This way, many corporates have gained corporate venturing experience and are now shifting their approach to be more strategically focused”. Resultingly, corporate venturing activities will only become more important in the years to come. A general point of improvement regarding the corporate venturing process, according to Wanda, is that corporates should find the right balance between keeping the venture operating independently, while at the same time optimally leveraging each other’s knowledge and capabilities. “This way, the venture investment gets the attention it requires to develop itself in both parties’ best interest”.
By Michael Brooijmans, Research Analyst