(Updated) Startups, innovators invited to 22 March ideation session with ICT giant KPN

In just two years telecom/ICT giant KPN has very quietly become a major force in the Dutch startup ecosystem.

Now, you and your startup team have a unique opportunity to get in the room with their executives at a special event, and maybe even work with KPN.

KPN New Business and HighTechXL join forces for a new challenge: The Next Big Thing for KPN.

They’re collaborating to bring together the best and brightest high-tech minds at The Next Big Thing hackathon to shape the future of KPN. The ideation session is Thursday, 22 March 11:30 to 17:00 in Eindhoven. The event will be held at Effenaar events complex just across from the Eindhoven Central Train Station.

Join smart, connected and secure hardware with AI, Blockchain and Data challenges to create The Next Big Thing for KPN.

It’s free, and you can apply here. There’s space for 300 participants. But don’t wait because young entrepreneurs are coming from Technical University of Eindhoven, as well as from rapid prototyping firm Vention and other startups on High Tech Campus Eindhoven.

There are already a lot of registrations and this event will be SRO.

To register for the challenge, send a few paragraphs about your motivation and why you consider yourself a change-maker.

Email this to koen.hokke@kpn.com no later than February 21. KPN executives will review your application and confirm your participation within two weeks of your registration or no later than one week before the event.

If selected, you get:

  • Front row seats in the co-creation of new innovation themes within KPN New Business
  • Cross-industry networking between startups, corporates, high-tech opinion leaders, KPN experts and HighTechXL innovation experts
  • Opportunity to pilot your idea if it has high-impact potential
  • Cool prizes and giveaways for winning teams
  • An inspiring afternoon with drinks and snacks

BUT, before you apply for The Next Big Thing you should know it is an interactive ideation, yes. But it could also be an audition on the way to teaming up with KPN in the future for something big.

And KPN does big.

KPN New Business is a separate department under the larger KPN organization charged with innovating, to “do things in a different way from corporates,” said Marie-Jose van den Boomgaard, startup liaison manager for KPN New Business.

Her 60-person Innovation team is charged with scouting new innovations as well matching startups with KPN, in forms of co-creation, pilots, distribution investments or being a supplier for startups and scale-ups, van den Boomgaard said.

For 2017, the eight people on the KPN New Business Liaison Team:

• closed 81 deals with startups in 33 different industry segments including IoT and digital health.

• visited 10 startup events each month

• have more than 1,150 startups in their data base

This is just one of several teams, with KPN New Business teams totaling 420 people.

There’s also a separate KPN Ventures team under its CFO with 70 million euros in capital to deploy. Investments range from 500,000 euros to 1.5 million euros for a minority stake on the way to an exit, not acquisition. Investment areas include IoT, OTT and mobile, digital healthcare, cybersecurity, cloud and data & analytics.

The Venture team works with “strategically related scale-ups,” van den Boomgaard said. Candidates must have at least 500,000 euros in revenue and are a strategic fit for KPN.

“It’s not just about investment; it’s about growing together.”

The Next Big Thing brainstorming session is open to startups, students, entrepreneurs “and anyone who’s interested,” van den Boomgaard said. Though it’s primarily an ideation event, it could lead to opportunities in cooperation with KPN, she added.

The Next Big Thing will be “very serious and very open. We don’t believe we can innovate just by ourselves. We believe we have to cooperate together.”

About KPN New Business:

KPN New Business teams has a total of 420 people.

The Internet of Things team has about 80 people, an innovation team of 60 people and a security team of about 300 people.

Other teams include e-health solutions, secure data sharing, fit tech and digital identity.

About KPN Ventures:

KPN Ventures invests, both directly and indirectly, in companies with innovative products and business models to create technological and economic synergies with KPN and its customers. KPN does this not only by providing capital, but more importantly by enabling access to KPN’s extensive expertise in connectivity, security and related technologies, to our leading network infrastructure and to our large customer base. As an active business partner, we put strong emphasis on long-term partnerships and therefore acknowledge we must mutually profit from each other on a sustainable basis.

Investment criteria:

  • Complimentary team with track record
  • Innovative product with unique competitive advantage
  • Sufficient commercial traction (>€0.5 mln revenues, growth, CAC<CLV)
  • (internationally) scalable model and large market potential
  • Realistic product development, marketing/sales and financial plan
  • Strategic link with KPN with potential for value creation through cooperation
  • Sufficiently attractive deal with 3-5x return potential

For more info, check out www.kpn.com/innovation or www.kpnventures.com.

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