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

26 May 2017

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.



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.


Grey Consulting and Makerversity announce strategic partnership

05 April 2019

Grey Consulting has forged a new alliance with Makerversity, a 500-strong community of the brightest creative innovators, headquartered at Somerset House, London. The partnership hopes to tap into the experimental community to develop pioneering solutions for Grey Consulting’s clients.

In August 2018, one of the world’s largest design agencies surprised the business world by launching a dedicated consulting outfit. The news came as the two industries continued on their trajectory towards a historic synthesis. The consulting industry has been engaged in a pitched battle with the advertising and design space for the past few years, as the former increasingly encroaches on the territory of the latter via a protracted campaign of mergers and acquisitions; but there had been little traffic moving in the other direction.

At its launch, Grey Consulting was not billed as a direct competitor to established consultancies. However, the firm behind the new entity hopes that its creative experience will give it a competitive edge in winning consulting business from its existing clients. The Grey Group is a global advertising and marketing agency with headquarters in New York City, and 432 offices in 96 countries, operating in 154 cities. Grey Consulting opened its doors with a view to aiding clients within the areas of business and brand design, innovation and digital transformations.Grey Consulting and Makerversity announce strategic partnership

Now, as the firm looks to further expand its footprint in the market, Grey Consulting has unveiled details of a ground-breaking new alliance with Makerversity, a 500-strong community of creative innovators headquartered at Somerset House, London. The alignment with Makerversity is hoped to unlock the potential of collaborating with one of the world’s most experimental communities.

Makerversity curates and convenes the best talent across product design, fashion, art and experimental architecture, sustainable materials, IoT, digital manufacturing, and coding. It provides spaces and workshops for professional makers to develop and create their work, supported by Somerset House Trust. The alliance is expected to enable Grey Consulting to develop pioneering solutions for its clients, together with innovators who make something amazing for a living, every day. 

Leo Rayman, Grey Consulting CEO, commented, “This gives our clients the potential to access a network of some of the most diverse and innovative individuals in the world today. Being so tightly connected to a community of makers means we don’t just develop transformational strategies but can quickly realise them in three dimensions. This sets Grey Consulting apart from the pure play strategy houses who are sometimes criticised for not making their thinking real at the pace modern businesses require.” 

Fiona Dent, CEO of Makerversity, added, “Makerversity acts as a catalyst for unexpected encounters, fostering collaborations between an incredible range of the brightest leading creators and innovators. Our experimental approach and engaged members, whose own practice is defining our world, create highly original new outcomes. We are delighted to bring this philosophy to a wider audience and generate interesting projects for Makerversity members through our partnership with Grey Consulting.”