Is the only way a corporate can be innovative through collaborating with external startups, or can companies foster internal innovation? In 2016 Telenor Group decided to attempt the latter by launching Ignite Incubator, an internal intrapreneurship programme across 13 countries. The response was overwhelming, so much so that round #2 is currently ongoing.
Just back from the intensive Ignite pitching rounds in Singapore, ten ideas from a shortlist of 30 teams who want to build their own startup within Telenor, has been selected for the 3-month incubator programme.
The 29 finalists don’t get time to relax – the onboarding to the bootcamp starts in two weeks in Oslo, before the teams are released from their dayjobs with full salary throughout the 3-month incubator.
During the bootcamp, the teams will work through a curriculum focusing on idea and market validation, through user research, analysis, prototyping and experiments.
Watch how the selection process was:
Telenor employees had to submit applications within six key categories of innovation and the finalist ideas were within IoT, B2B, Financial Services and Communication services, by teams from Bangladesh, Hungary, Pakistan, Denmark, Bulgaria, Telenor Group in Norway, and Myanmar.
The ideas were evaluated on whether they had a clearly identified and well-researched user pain point and an addressable commercial market of more than 50 million. In addition, the teams themselves were judged on whether they have a great fit for solving the problem and the passion for building their startup dream!
The ideas we believe could become startups in their own right are:
- EagleEye from Bangladesh – Efficient , accountable and convenient IoT vehicle fuel monitoring system
- Spoor from Telenor Group – IoT device that helps people locate and find the things they own and love
- MeeT from Hungary – Digital business card and meeting-aid on your mobile
- Open Parking from Denmark – Realtime parking guides, based on multiple sources
- FoodInsider from Pakistan – A solution for getting to know foodies better
- SIGNAL from Bulgaria – Remote smartphone personalization and support for the elderly
- Turn Trash to Treasure from Myanmar – A socially responsible app for cleaner environment
- YEScredit from Myanmar – A matchmaker for lenders and borrowers
- Enable Pay & Credit from Telenor Group – Financial inclusion service for unbanked merchants
- LiquidEye from Bangladesh – Real-time liquidity management for distribution value chain members in mobile financial services industry
Once the ten teams emerge from the incubator this summer, they will once again pitch at a final Demo Day. This time Telenor will decide if the result from the incubator is strong enough to set the team up as a new internal product team, either on a global group level or in one of the local companies, or spin it out as an external startup.
While Telenor collaborates with external startups and accelerators from a Group level as well as via our 13 companies globally, it is imperative to foster a culture of innovation and experimentation internally.
This ambition is also key to implementing Telenor’s new strategic direction as a more digitally focused company.
“Our intrapreneurs have showcased some great ideas in key categories that can contribute to us taking crucial positions in the digital landscape and making Telenor our customers’ favourite partner in their digital lives. I congratulate the teams and look forward to following the process throughout the incubator,” said Sigve Brekke, Telenor Group President & CEO about the finalist selection of the Ignite programme last week.