An exclusive interview with Clara Gaymard and Gonzague de Blignières, co-founders of RAISE

100% of big corporations collaborate with young companies, whether as investors (through equity), as partners (through commercial relationships, incubators, accelerators, etc.) or as sponsors (through events, prizes, foundations, patronage, HR initiatives or mentoring)”. This is one of the main findings from the recent study David with Goliath 2017, carried out by the group RAISE in collaboration with Bain & Company.

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But how can the durability and the benefits of these open collaboration initiatives be ensured? To celebrate the launch of our course “Innovate with Startups”, created with the support of RAISESHERPAS, RAISE Group’s endowment fund, we sat down with RAISE’s co-founders, Clara Gaymard and Gonzague de Blignières.

Converging views… 

RAISE is a well-known intermediary between large companies and startups. To what does it owe its success?

In less than five years, RAISE was able to put together a virtuous and unique ecosystem in which we build bridges between all players making the economic growth in France: multinationals, small and medium-sized enterprises and startups. Big companies have a crucial role to play here, as the shareholders of RAISE’s various investment structures (RAISE Investissement, RAISE Immobilier and RAISE Ventures) and because they support our endowment fund RAISESHERPAS.

This gives them a global view of our ecosystem and puts them in constant contact with our startups. These corporations are also really involved in our various support programs for startups; this enables them to get familiar with the culture of the startup world, a constant source of innovation and disruption, but also to transmit their knowledge. At the same time, when startups, small and vulnerable players, meet a large and international company, it often helps them avoiding potentially fatal pitfalls that are inherent in the transition from a startup to a durable enterprise.

Why do large corporations want to surround themselves with startups?

They understand that they no longer have enough reactivity to follow the fast pace of innovations, and that they have to look at the innovations happening outside their organizations – if they want to keep growing. It’s what’s called Open Innovation. They must be open to the outside world in order to successfully achieve their digital transformation. 

What are the missions of RAISESHERPAS, your endowment fund?

RAISESHERPAS is a philanthropic endowment fund which goal is to support startups in their post-launch development phase and help manage their growth. We create programs to support their growth such as honor loans, mentoring programs with executives from big companies, and consulting and diagnosis workshops. Above all, we give them access to our network. All this in a 100% philanthropic way, for free, because startups’ growth is something we deeply care about.

Why did you decide to support Coorpacademy to produce this course?

Coorpacademy is a reference when it comes to online training, but also a fast-growing company with which we wanted to share our experience. Creating this course with Coorpacademy also gave us the possibility to share the lessons learned over four years of experience in creating relationships between large companies and startups – and particularly through the David with Goliath initiative we’ve been conducting with Bain & Company since 2014. These courses will also enable us to offer content to the future mentors of our startups coming from big corporations.

Thanks to you both!

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