When we started Huge Thing, back in 2012, we thought that a crucial point for new tech entrepreneurs was to gain knowledge necessary to run their business.
That’s why we created Huge Thing program – more of a “modern MBA”, than a regular venture-investment service. We’ve already organized its two batches, managed to create successful businesses like Transparent Choice, Vicoinz, GetBadges, Livecall or Dealavo . Some of our alumni didn’t manage to succeed with their first businesses, however, now they have fantastic careers as entrepreneurs or managers.
We had a huge internal discussion about what the new edition should look like. Where are startups’ major weak points? What aspect of our help would be most valuable and allow to really accelerate these growing businesses’ development?
There were two clear winners: factual knowledge (business/vertical specific) and access to the market. I know, it’s not an unexpected discovery. the real question was rather how to address them. Few months ago we realized that we wouldn’t be able to deliver those features ourselves. No matter how great mentors we hire, it simply won’t work.
There was actually one solution. We should build a partnership with a corporation, who could contribute their knowledge and access to their natural market. Easy to say. Corporations were sort of Terra Incognita for us. We knew they existed, but at the same time we felt like they were against tech entrepreneurship values.
There was an important class called “customer discovery” in the Huge Thing learning process. During this class, we encouraged startups not to assume too much. Go to your clients and users, ask them what they think, know, what they need. We realized we were making this common mistake: making so many assumptions without verifying them. The reality was different. We’ve met over 20 big companies while checking whether creating a partnership with Huge Thing would be a valuable thing for them. And you know what? The reaction was warmer that we could’ve dreamt of. Large companies do realize that it’s hard for them to create innovation as quickly as startups do. On the other hand, they have access to huge markets because they’re credible (successfully delivering solutions to particular markets for decades). Yes, we need each other – there’re simply no enough institutional places to communicate, build trust and, finally, cooperate.
We’ve decided to create a partnership with AVIVA – a global leader in the insurance business.
Why? Two reasons: we found there a great team of people with culturally fitting so-called startup mindset: openness, willingness to search for new possibilities, questioning the status-quo. The other reason is very businesslike – Aviva managers aren’t interested in startups because they’re fancy and sort of “trendy” stuff. They see a clear business opportunity in creating value through connecting innovative companies/solutions with a market leader with established position.
So, the deal is very simple; if your product aligns with the preferred areas of: product and sales, communication and customer service, insurance claim repair & settlement, and organizational development – you should APPLY. no strings attached – we don’t expect any equity (you’re not getting an investment automatically), we just want you to be ready to deploy your solutions with Aviva – of course, on the commercial basis.
I do hope it’s a situation often described as a “no-brainer”. I’ve been watching dozens of young companies, and I know that access to the market – first sale – is most often the main obstacle on the way of developing their business. This time, for the first time in Poland (I believe it applies to the whole CEE region), we’re about to help you to avoid it.
Hope to see you in November during the third batch of Huge Thing, this time, powered by Aviva.
Bartek Gola, General Partner, SpeedUp Venture Capital Group
If you have any questions we’ll be for your disposal next Thursday (October 13th) in Warsaw. Please sign up for OFFICE HOURS.