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4YFN 2019, the any of Corporate Venturing

These days at 4YFN we have been able to see how hundreds of corporations and startups have come together to boost their businesses. In order for these conversations to have their results, the challenge for both parties has been to define very well what their value proposition is and what they can contribute in both directions, and to be very clear that the relationship must be a win-win one.

"I remember the first edition of 4YFN in 2014. It was attended by 2,300 people, most of them entrepreneurs, some investors and a few companies that came to try to sell their services to startups. In 5 years the scenario has changed dramatically. In the last edition, the number of attendees has increased to 21,000, but the most important thing is that many of the attendees have been managers of large companies that now want to buy the products and services of startups to boost their disruptive innovation.

In the last edition of 4YFN we also saw how large companies became exhibitors to present the startups they are working with and we were able to see the different models that companies have to relate to this ecosystem: corporate venture capital funds, accelerators, venture client models, among others.

From RocaSalvatella, we have organised 3 Corporate Venturing tours for managers in which we have explored how medium and large companies can take advantage of the potential of startups to boost their innovation and explore new opportunities.

The tours have focused on getting to know the main models of collaboration between corporations and startups, understanding the challenges and possibilities they offer and how RocaSalvatella Digital Ventures helps companies to embark on this path. On the one hand, we visited the stands of the main companies that are betting on corporate venturing to find out how their initiatives have evolved and what they have learned. We had the opportunity to learn first-hand about the initiatives of Repsol, Cuatrecasas Acelera, Banc Sabadell's Innocells and Telefónica's Wayra. On the other hand, we heard about the experience of startups that are collaborating with large companies to understand the challenges involved at a cultural level and how to get the most out of the collaboration. In particular, we discovered the cases of Plug&Play, Validated ID, Vottun and We are testers, among others.

Therefore, we will be looking at the main Corporate Venturing models that have been reflected in one of the most important events in Barcelona, the MWC and the 4YFN, as well as players who have already defined their strategy and proposal for the entrepreneurial ecosystem.


t consists of the investment of corporate equity directly in companies and can be combined with investments in start-ups in the seed or grow stage. In this model, in addition to the startups obtaining investment, the corporations, in exchange for equity, also help them through access to resources - clients or knowledge, for example - that allow them to accelerate their growth strategy.

At 4YFN, we saw BStartup from Banc Sabadell, Repsol Corporate Venturing and their startups as examples of this model. We also had the opportunity to meet BP Ventures, Visa Ventures, PayPal Ventures and KPN Ventures through conferences in which they highlighted that their strategy is based on investing in startups that offer technology or solutions that they cannot develop internally.


This is a model that is of increasing interest to startups in their initial phase, as the corporation becomes the client, allowing entrepreneurs to improve their prototype or product and validate it on a large scale, generate more turnover and connect with industry players. In this model, corporations do not invest in startups, but the contribution is in the form of revenue.

At 4YFN we learned about the experience of BMW Startup Garage, an independent unit of BMW Ventures.


As a corporation you can create your own incubator or join an existing third-party incubator. This model aims to develop startups in very early stages, pre-seed or seed, and consists of helping them to create MVPs, accompanying them in the market launch and in the development of a solid and scalable business case by providing a physical workspace and access to experts.

At 4YFN we saw Barcelona Activa as a public incubator and CorreosLab as well as its startups serving as an example of this model.


As in the previous case, a corporation can design its own corporate accelerator or an external one. The aim of this model is to accelerate the growth of a start-up in the seed or early stage, i.e. those that already have a valid model and metrics. The aid consists of boosting their business, increasing the number of clients, turnover, strengthening their value proposition and preparing the scalability of the business, as well as obtaining funding. This programme/model usually lasts between 4 and 6 months and offers startups access to sector experts and personalised mentoring on specific needs.

At 4YFN we saw Cuatrecasas Acelera, MAS Venture, accelerator of the telecommunications company Mas Móvil, Vueling with its Hangar1 programme and Telefónica's Wayra and its startups as examples of the model.


The main objective of this model is to create its own projects and the corporation allocates its resources and investment to do so. To do so, it selects successful ideas or businesses and replicates them in its sector. In addition, it provides investment in the project, there is an active role in operations and the team has access to shared resources (legal, administration, finance, etc.).

An example of this model is that of Banc Sabadell's InnoCells, which participated in different activities at 4YFN, interviewing digital talent and empowering them to help them drive new businesses.


It is based on the total acquisition of startups mainly in the growth stage and the result can result in two models: 100% integration into the company or letting it continue to operate as an independent entity. Startups move to a more stable environment with more resources and facilities to expand the business.


This is a type of investment in which communication groups generate publicity at a good price for a company in exchange for a shareholding. This model provides a response to the greatest difficulties that a start-up faces: on the one hand, the lack of investors and, on the other, the difficulty of making themselves known. The case of MediaSet's Ad4Ventures is an example of this model and startups such as Groupalia, Offerum and La Nevera Roja are cases that have become known thanks to these collaborations.

The challenge for large corporations is to decide which model or models are best suited to their needs. Therefore, it is important, firstly, to define their strategy (in which areas they want to explore opportunities and whether they are aligned with the company's global strategy), secondly, to define the best tools that can help them achieve their strategic objectives and, finally, to implement them in order to develop business opportunities.

From the area of Digital Ventures RocaSalvatella we have developed a test to diagnose the degree of open innovation of your organisation that can serve as a basis to start or continue working on your Corporate Venturing strategy.

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