The startup scene has become an important resource for incumbent financial services players, cultivating disruptive business models and technologies. As the startup scene continues to grow across the globe, professional services firms have become key bridges between industry players and startup hubs. To support its global client base and find promising talent and propositions within Lisbon’s startup scene, Roland Berger recently announced a partnership with Startup Lisboa.
The development of a budding startup arena, in a large part ushered in by technological advance, has provided a backdrop for the creation of high impact, high value companies within a relatively short time-frame. While most startups do not make it to unicorn status, many that survive the first tentative years are able to create considerable value for themselves as well as their clients and customers.
The startup community is being supported by a range of actors and entities. Venture capitalists and angel investors provide much of the financial backing to the industry. Cities and government enact a range of policies to support startups and eventual scaleups. Professional services firms too have become more and more involved in the industry in recent years, providing not merely critical intelligence and advice surrounding markets and the product development, but also opening up their wider networks in which startups can be better matched with potential clients at various critical stages in their development. For this purpose, among others, professional services firms have supported the development of startup hubs, accelerators and incubators across the globe, including KPMG’s Ignition Centre, FIS' FinTech centre, and Capgemini’s Codebase partnership, to name a few.
Lisbon is one of the globe’s 35 best cities for digital entrepreneurs & innovation, Portugal's capital takes the 17th spot. The city provides a friendly business environment, strong digital and non-digital infrastructure and an amiable lifestyle. Among the organisations in the city that supports startups is Startup Lisboa. The organisation, which was founded in 2011 by the Lisbon Municipality, Bank Montepio and IAPMEI, supports and tracks startups throughout their first year of development within the city. The organisation provides startups with access to office space as well as a wide ranging support structure, which includes mentoring, access to investors, business basics support, networking activities and strategic partner access.
The partnership between Startup Lisboa and Roland Berger focuses on supporting industry incumbents – such as banking, insurance, specialised retail and healthcare sectors – with access to disruptive and fast-growth solutions within the Lisbon startup scene, boosting the business potential of startups and creating a means for incumbents to partner or acquirer disruptive innovations. Solutions are focused on the development of new business models as well as technologies to support them.
As part of the deal, Roland Berger will provide consulting support to startups in the form of exubation, whereby incumbents and startups work together to develop disruptive solutions; digital ecosystem, organise shared initiatives between Startup Lisboa and Roland Berger; a digital think tank, which focuses on shared knowledge on digital innovation cantered in the city of Lisbon through publications and workshops, hosting of workshops and shared events together with startups and large corporates. In addition, the partnership taps into Roland Berger’s global Terra Numerata network, providing access for global corporates into the Lisbon startup scene as well as global exposure for innovative solutions being developed under the guidance of Startup Lesboa to international players.
António Bernardo, Managing Partner of Roland Berger and Member of the Global Executive Committee, sees the partnership "as a historic landmark for the Portuguese digital ecosystem that enables a synergistic combination of business experience from our consultants and the entrepreneurial and innovation competencies that are embedded in Startup Lisboa.”
Miguel Fontes, Executive Director of Startup Lisboa, says: "this partnership with Roland Berger represents a means of providing incubated startups with access to solid business experience, know-how and a vast network of international contacts from the most diverse industries."