For’s first Multicorporate Matchmaking Event, we invited Medtronic, Galp and Vestas Ventures to meet 30 outstanding startups in the fields of Health and Energy and discover potential partnerships and investment opportunities. 


The Multicorporate Matchmaking Event gives innovators the privilege to meet leading European companies, opening the door to larger deals. The participating startups can establish strategic partnerships to validate their innovations and accelerate market penetration.  

For the corporates, these events bring the opportunity to discover groundbreaking solutions developed by innovators that were validated by the European Commission, increasing the companies’ visibility and reputation as highly innovative. 

Following the first edition, we asked the representatives of the three corporates to share with us their valuable feedback, including revealing to innovators why they should participate in this kind of initiative.  


The Corporates 

Yves Bayon is the Chief Scientist at Medtronic, where he works for more than 20 years. His role is to support locally (in France) the design and development of new products for abdominal hernia repair, to leverage their core expertise in textile engineering and biomaterials, and to assist the development of products of other divisions including cardiovascular, spine and neurovascular. One of his roles is to manage public and private partnership activities, such as’s Matchmaking Event.  

Manuel Andrade is the Head of Open Innovation at GALP, where he runs the platform Upcoming Energies, which intends to be the open door to collaboration with the startup ecosystem, entrepreneurs’ ecosystem and academia ecosystem. Its mission is to build a portfolio of opportunities to boost energy transition, following GALP’s aggressive change in its portfolio and operations to become more sustainable and thrive through the energy transition. GALP is going from being a traditional oil and gas company to being a renewable energy company. Innovation plays a very important role because most of the solutions that they need to find are not yet in the market or commercialized. In order for GALP to achieve carbon neutral neutrality in the future, a lot of innovation will be needed and most of the innovation nowadays is done by startups and universities.  

Mathias Lundsgaard Kuur and Jared Balavender are both Principals in Vestas Ventures. Their role is split between scouting great startups around the world and supporting value creation of the startups they have invested in. Mathias leads portfolio management activities for two of their portfolio companies, BladeRobots and Skyrex.

Jared Balavender is the portfolio lead for Hysata and Modvion. Innovation is a core part of what they do as they continuously need to be at the forefront of the development within their industry. The Vestas Ventures’ team scouts for startups that 1) are highly aligned with Vestas’ medium to long-term strategic objectives, and 2) their 2000 plus engineers find uniquely exciting to work with. They are actively engaged with all their portfolio companies, supporting them through co-developing solutions with their depth and breadth of experience in the wind industry.  


The added value for Corporates 

Big corporations are always on the lookout for the best start-ups, especially in early-stage. As Mathias and Jared explain, Vestas Ventures saw this event as a great opportunity to meet interesting startups, get a feeling of what they do, and explore how they might help enable Vestas’ vision to become the global leader in sustainability solutions. Similarly, GALP aimed at meeting entrepreneurs with great ideas to find solutions or technologies that can help them in their business and can support them in the transition towards a renewable energy company.  



A straightforward way to exclusive partnerships

“There are so many startups all over the world and it’s impossible to keep track of everything, so when there’s organizations like that help us find some startups, it’s always good for us. These events are also very good to mitigate the typical difference of culture between a big corporate and a startup. We don’t normally speak the same language and it’s great to have someone in the middle that puts us together and talking to each other”. Manuel Andrade, GALP 

In the same line as Manuel’s words, Vestas Ventures representatives consider that these types of corporate innovation initiatives can be an excellent opportunity to streamline scarce scouting resources and accelerate the matching of relevant innovators with engaged corporates.  

For Yves, Matchmaking events means the opportunity for a startup to touch base directly with R&D+I from a world leading company, focusing more on technology rather than in business and marketing strategy, establishing an open dialogue, and getting recommendations.  



Tips to win a big Corporate 

“What is essential when you start an entrepreneurial adventure is to be motivated, to be inspired, to be a true believer of what you want to develop.” Yves Bayon, Medtronic 

Here are the skills and strategies that you should focus on to convince big corporations: 

> Consider corporates (and not only VC) as a doorway to get funding, if a pilot with a corporate is successful, in most cases a big corporation will be willing to invest.  

> Have an open, inquisitive mind that both stays with tough questions, and simultaneously knows when to cut their losses.  

> Be internally driven and know when to sprint and when to keep the right marathon pace.  

> Communicate simply and succinctly, with clarity and passion.  

> Have a great core team in place.  

> Have a rock solid, differentiated technology. 

> Reading suggestions: The Lean Startup, Life Entrepreneurship and anything by Paul Graham, especially How to Do What You Love and Relentless Resourceful. 


Be aware of the challenges 

Besides the cultural difference already pointed out by Manuel, sometimes it is difficult to find the right person to speak to in the big corporation and it is his job to put the startup in contact with somebody that will understand what they are doing and the potential for collaboration.  

Yves highlights that as many startups in these events are early-stage technologies, they are facing some critical decisions as nearly everything is decided on that stage. According to him, the dialogue with corporate companies should start very early because the most critical decisions impacting the venture have been already taken or will be taken soon, and this will pave the road to a successful venture or to a failing venture. Even if they are not ready for equity investment, they can benefit from the experience and have open discussions with corporate company representatives. 

Mathias and Jared recognize that decision-making has more layers in a large corporate than in a classic Venture Capital setup, which can be frustrating. But they can also be the natural first customer, having an operational setup, scale and global footprint to speed up commercialization of the product(s). Money can be raised from many sources. Nevertheless, the combination of customer base, range of partners and suppliers, global footprint, and relevant industry experience that comes through genuine corporate partnership is impossible to replicate through purely financial investors. 


An optimistic future 

“Collaboration is important and corporates can play a role helping complementary start-ups reach their goals in terms of maturing their product(s) and commercializing their solutions. At the same time, many corporates will benefit from being pushed by startups bringing in new perspectives. New opportunities are a fundamental component of continuously being at the forefront of a growing industry.” Mathias Lundsgaard Kuur and Jared Balavender, Vestas Ventures 

Manuel similarly envisions a bright future for the collaboration between startups and corporations. Big corporations understand that they cannot do everything by themselves, and they can leverage the potential of the startup world especially in the field of energy and energy transition where there are countless novel concepts being developed around the world. Energy corporations nowadays understand that the next big thing is probably out there, not in-house. Thus, they will be looking more and more for early-stage innovators and startups that can help them. 



Article published by EurA AG.

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Supported by the European Commission, discovers and supports the most promising EU-funded innovators and connects them with relevant investors and corporates. The initiative was launched to help groundbreaking innovations secure the funding needed for their future commercialisation by offering them tailored support and matchmaking services. 

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