Venture arms of consultancies BearingPoint and Elixirr invest in start-ups

26 May 2017 Consultancy.uk

The venture capital arms of consulting firms BearingPoint and Elixirr have both invested into two promising startups. As part of a growing trend within the professional service industry, Elixirr recently became financial backers to on-demand personal training app we:bo, with the service being dubbed ‘the Uber for personal training’, while BearingPoint invested in Norwegian startup Tribe, a FinTech firm that provides insurers with an innovative and agile tech platform.

An industry-wide trend has seen consultancies investing in start-ups across a wide cross-section of markets, with firms increasingly operating as venture capitalists either seeking to make sizeable returns from their beneficiaries, or looking to extend their own service portfolio for more long-term profitability. Big Four professional service industry rivals EY, Deloitte, PwC and KPMG each boast growing corporate investment schemes, with a host of competitors including McKinsey & Company and PA Consulting following suit.

Through their financial support of we:bo and Tribe, Elixirr and BearingPoint have emulated the culture of the industry’s top names, and will be hoping to see returns that boost them in terms of their revenue and corporate infrastructure.

we:bo

#FutureOfFitness

Elixirr Capital’s investment in we:bo is primarily motivated by the former, this year becoming the start-up’s first corporate client. The on-demand personal training service, heralded by Elixirr’s statement as the Uber of personal training, uses two-way video technology to give consumers an instant connection to a personal trainer to instruct a live, interactive one-to-one fitness session.

During the announcement of the deal, we:bo founder Sanjeev Virdi stated his mission is to improve the health of the nation, beginning with wellbeing in the workplace. According to Virdi, “absenteeism is costing UK businesses £15 billion a year, and inactivity has been identified as the main protagonist. Corporates have a responsibility to improve the health programmes they offer their employees.”

This is Elixirr Capital’s 8th investment since launching in early 2014, and sees the consulting firm offered the additional perk of enabling their team to engage in a weekly hour of free personal training sessions through the app, as part of their benefits package. However, the venture is aimed at being more than a simple fitness-drive within their own office.

Elixirr also hopes to see returns from we:bo boosted by business from their own clients, who are looking to innovate employee health regimes. Founder and Managing Partner of the Capital division, Stephen Newton, asserted that the work with we:bo epitomised the entrepreneurial culture Elixirr are attempting to build. He commented, “With we:bo, we now have an effective solution to offer our clients that helps them solve this problem – we’re really excited to take this to market.”

BearingPoint invests in FinTech

Management and technology consultancy BearingPoint meanwhile has added Tribe to its strategic partnerships, as it attempts to strengthen its focus on digitalisation and Financial Technology (FinTech). While last year saw total global investment by venture capitalists in FinTech drop by almost half, BearingPoint no doubt sees this as an opportunity to position itself as a market-leader.

BearingPoint invests in Fintech Tribe

The consulting firm’s investment in the Oslo-based start-up comes on the back of insurance provider Tribe’s development of an innovative business model and IT insurance platform – aimed at enabling customers to receive simplified insurance solutions.

Both BearingPoint and Tribe enter the long-term symbiosis, with a mind to expand their respective service portfolios. In addition to its financial investment, BearingPoint will pledge support for the continuing development of Tribe, while gaining adding the company’s notable expertise in digital transformation, analytics, and regulation of the insurance industry.

Noting his excitement at the development, Patrick Palmgren, Chief Development Officer at BearingPoint, confirmed the continued importance of BearingPoint’s venture mission, stating, “Identifying and cooperating with promising ventures is deeply embedded in our firm-wide strategy. It enables us to be part of and shape innovative trends and gain important expertise and experience, which in turn helps us to support our clients in the best possible way.“

While reciprocating the firm’s excitement, Rune Brunborg, Chief Executive Officer at Tribe added,  “Succeeding with a new insurance concept requires succeeding with IT, concept and marketing. BearingPoint has an enormous amount of knowledge in IT, processes and concept thinking, and they can also advise us in moving our IT platform and product concept abroad. We are confident that BearingPoint will contribute a lot to our development both on a national and international level.”

According to a recent analysis by McKinsey, the insurance industry is set to see a significant chunk of its profits eroded by InsurTechs and digital rivals, while another study, by Bain & Company, highlighted that customer loyalty is an area where digital can add high value.

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