Currently looking after Oracle France corporate responsibility, Dominique van Deth always thought that companies could have a significant impact on Society.
After starting in Consulting, R&D and Product Management, Dominique chose to help Oracle France internal transformation. For 5 years, Dominique has been managing startups programs, and he launched in 2014 a structured program to engage volunteers in helping startup grow. Passionate by social business, innovation and human capital, he is currently looking at Corporate Hacking.
I met him at Les Hacktivateurs afterwork, and he kindly accepted to tell us more about Oracle startups program.
What is ‘the reason why’ for the Oracle startups program? Where does it come from?
#welovestartups was created as a mean to support Oracle France’s internal transformation. We want employees to understand Digital Transformation through practical use cases brought by startups. We started by selecting 6 startups and 6 volunteers and we actually had to refuse a lot of employees. Richard Frajnd, Country Leader, then asked me to broaden the program, which I did in two ways: ‘Adopt a startup’ where employees can choose from a selection of already sourced startups, and ‘Bring your own startup’ where they can find themselves a startup using their own networks.
For Oracle, it is part of our Corporate Responsibility activities, it helps internal transformation, it helps us also to bring additional innovation to our customer, and it is important in our own transition to Cloud where we need to increase the value of our MarketPlace.
2) What is the value proposition for the startups and for the Oracle Business Units? Can you pick-up a few examples of successful collaborations?
For startups, we offer a mentor that they can talk to, so that they can discuss the various business issue they face. We also offer specific expertise on a pro-bono model (limited to a meeting or two). And we put startups forward in our various go-to-market activities (events, digital communication). When it makes sense, we also bring them in front of our own customers.
Within Oracle, we try to leverage everything we do by asking ourselves: “how could we leverage startups ?” And when it makes sense, we include them. Specific part of the business also regularly contact me with specific requests.
Program’s intend is to build win / win relationships and as the program develop, we will have specific stories to share. We had large presence of startups at many events, including our Digital Disruption Day, our Partner Day, the User Group meeting, and at the coming Digital Mission 2016. And some startups even met Safra Catz, Oracle’s co-CEO in April! Feedback is already very positive from all stakeholders and we have solid use cases under work where we will combine our products with startup solutions.
3) How does it work for startups? How do business unit and employees concurrently engage in the startup program?
We are looking at startups in Digital Transformation with a BtoB model. Startup should have already a product and customers (>100k euros revenue). They are usually sourced from network we are working with: France Digital, Scientipôle, Paris&Co, Réseau Entreprendre. They apply, and we build together a summary slide. The set of startups is proposed to potential volunteers that will chose a startup they would like to work with. We make sure that there is a mutual match so that nobody wastes his time.
4) What are the typical timeline and milestones of the startup acceleration program? What are the skills of your team to support this framework?
It is a one year program and every startup is setting its own milestones with us. Oracle’s employee are typically highly skilled, so there are no specific criterias in this area.
5) What was the most difficult part to achieve? Do you measure a success ratio?
Honestly, things are progressing really well. It takes some time to convince volunteers, but as program is growing, word of mouth is helping a lot.
6) What is your next challenge? The next steps for the Oracle startup program?
The next challenge is to really develop joint success stories, and maybe to replicate this program in other countries. We’ve already launched a program in India, so let’s see!
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Nicolas Bry is a senior VP at Orange Innovation Group. Serial innovator, he set-up creative BU with an international challenge, and a focus on new TV experiences. Forward thinker, he completed a thesis on “Rapid Innovation”, implemented successfully at Orange, further developed in his writings. He tweets @nicobry