Corporate Innovation InsightsIntrapreneurshipCorporate Venture Building

one2zero’s Remarkable Corporate Venture Journey and How to Build Up a Strong Corporate Venture Team | Part 2

By June 4, 2024June 6th, 2024No Comments

Corporate Entrepreneurship Stories #3 – one2zero – Part 2

Part 2 – one2zero’s venture journey and how to build a strong corporate venture team

In part #1, we learned about one2zero’s business model, founding story and collaboration with the corporate venture’s mothership. In part #2, we dive deeper into the people and team side of one2zero and how Tobias Wiener – founder of one2zero – sees the future of innovation and energy in Europe.

Michael Lunzer, Head of Venture Design at Pioneers:
Thanks for your insights into your relationship with Salzburg AG. Let’s look at your team. How big is one2zero today and what can you tell us about your team and culture? 

Tobias Wiener:

Sure, today we have around 25 employees. Most of them were external hires, a few also joined from Salzburg AG. To be frank, the one2zero culture is still a work in progress. As a team, we recently defined our principles and redefined how we aim to create impact with one2zero. Now, we are in the process of bringing these principles to everyday work.

Before, we had also defined impact as one of our goals, but it was too fluffy and untouchable. We received many applications and hired people who wanted to change the world tomorrow but then realized that we are still a company that also has to deliver client work, and needs to be revenue-drivenMany of those people left and we had a high fluctuation last year. When building your team, my advice is to set already the right expectations in the hiring phase. 

Lastly, we learned that new product development and operations should not be split within a small venture like ours. There are numerous things to improve in our operations and our team, we have many intrapreneurs eager to bring in their ideas. In this early phase, everybody’s entrepreneurial spirit is strongly needed. 

Having a positive impact and achieving growth and profitability simultaneously is very difficult for many companies and startups…

Yes. I understand that the energy transition is an important goal, and we need to put more effort into getting things on the ground. However, young talents also need to understand that a company requires revenues to survive and grow its impact. We need a well-aligned and professional team effort to successfully deliver projects that bring impact. It’s about finding the right balance between an entrepreneurial spirit and creativity and efficient operations. 

When talking about entrepreneurial spirit – in what way are you or your employees incentivized by equity in one2zero? 

Being a 100% daughter company of Salzburg AG, there is no participation model for founders or employees yet. We are driven by our strong vision and created impact, by a flexible working environment, and the entrepreneurial culture we are shaping together. 

It’s about finding the right balance between an entrepreneurial spirit and creativity and efficient operations.

So you are not incentivized by a potential exit or revenues. What are your personal goals then and how do you drive growth and manage investments into one2zero? 

I was always driven to create something new to solve customers’ pains. With one2zero we do not just help our clients but also the environment. And there are many things to do to achieve a green future for Europe.

Besides my ambition, of course, there are growth targets we agreed on with the Salzburg AG management. These are quarterly reviewed and measured to take according to action. Scaling one2zero into one2zero 2.0 – a more standardized offering – is the next step. For that, we also need to achieve a fitting organizational structure and professionalization that ties back to the cultural topic we discussed before. 

In terms of further investments, we rely on Salzburg AG, so we are also constantly investing in our currently great relationship with the management. We do not just see Salzburg AG as an investor but more like a strategic advisor and sparring partner. At the same time, we also need to be bold and pushy [laughs], but that’s part of the corporate venture game. 

Sounds like you found a suitable relationship to Salzburg AG. How do you see the future of corporate ventures? Are you optimistic that this model will succeed and grow? 

Firstly, I truly believe in the model as it combines the best of two worlds – the vast assets of the corporate, with a more exploratory and flexible development environment that allows for fast growth. Corporate ventures have furthermore the potential to not just achieve financial ROIs but also foster the corporate’s brand, and culture and for public companies even positively impact the image of the location or region. So corporate ventures, to me, are the chance for Europe to start into a new era. 

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What’s the new era in your view?
A Europe that like before embraces diversity, different approaches, and an entrepreneurial spirit. But at the same time a Europe that jointly focuses on building a green continent. We need to go where climate change is happening. Besides hubs in Northern Europe, we need climate and sustainability hubs in every large city in Europe and locally co-create solutions.

A hopeful and visionary picture you have drawn for us here. Hopefully, we will see parts of it coming alive in the future. Last question: Any advice you would give other corporates who aim to launch corporate ventures?  

3 things.  Number 1 – we need fewer innovation officials and more innovation doers. Too much time goes into defining processes and methods instead of just starting to validate the customer and develop solutions that bring value. Secondly, let’s not try to copy the USA or China in their approaches but find our own style. Corporate venture building can work if we give it a try. Lastly, for corporate venture founders, please only put your effort into ideas in which you would invest yourself. It’s a tough path, so you need to fully believe in the idea.

Many thanks for your insights, Tobias, and all the best with your further endeavors!

Do you want to learn more about how we can support your corporate venture building activities?

Schedule a brief introductory call with our Innovation Manager Michael Lunzer. Simply send a quick email to michael.lunzer@pioneers.io.

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Michael Lunzer
Innovation Manager

Michael Lunzer

Michael Lunzer

Head of Venture Design @Pioneers