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MobilityXlab: A Benchmark for Corporate Squad Success

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

A new study highlights MobilityXlab as a positive example of Corporate Venturing Squad, a governance structure for corporations to pursue corporate innovation as a team while working alongside startups.

A team of athletes running together

Photo: Steven Lelham/Unsplash

In the ever-evolving world of startups and corporate collaborations, the need for a more structured and mutually beneficial approach has become evident. Corporate Venturing Squads (CVS), a new governance structure in which corporations join forces to pursue corporate innovation as a team, offers benefits ranging from cost-sharing and risk mitigation to accessing new markets and leveraging complementary skills. 

The findings come from the study titled "Open Innovation: Corporate Venturing Squads," co-authored by IESE professor M. Julia Prats with Josemaria Siota, Carla Bustamante, and Beatriz Camacho from IESE’s Open Innovation and Corporate Venturing Institute, in collaboration with the firm Kapita. The authors analyzed 50 corporate venturing squads, comprising 340 squad members and 262 corporations, and conducted interviews with 50 chief innovation officers or similar roles in multiple sectors, in Europe, Asia and the Americas. 

In the study, MobilityXlab is shown as a real-world example of how a group of corporates in the mobility and connectivity sector can pool resources, expertise, and knowledge to dive deeper into the startup ecosystem, gaining a competitive edge in their respective domains. The collective strength of the CVS makes it possible for the members to embrace higher-risk innovation activities. 

This collaborative approach has a two-fold benefit: It amplifies the appeal to startups and offers corporations a strategic edge. A standout statistic from the report underscores this: 29% of the corporates’ benefits of CVS are directly linked to an enhanced network positioning in the innovation sphere.

A donut showing the benefits to the corporate venturing squads, with 37% reporting better access to dealflow

Photo: IESE Business School, Open Innovation: Corporate Venturing Squads Teaming Up with Other Corporations to Better Innovate with Start-Ups

But the benefits aren't just strategic; they are financial too. The IESE Business School study points towards a significant cost-saving trend in the CVS paradigm. With collaborative ventures such as MobilityXlab, companies have seen dramatic reductions in expenses, with some reporting savings of up to 90% of total costs. This synergy in the CVS structure, along with a pool of shared knowledge, grants these alliances a nuanced understanding of the startup terrain, ensuring informed decision-making and reduced investment risks.

In an ever-evolving business ecosystem, this latest study from IESE underscores the importance of innovative alliances, with MobilityXlab standing as a testament to the potential of Corporate Venturing Squads. As startups and corporations continue to seek each other, these insights offer a clear roadmap for future collaborations.