One fact has been drawing attention in the 2015 edition of 100 Open Startups, a movement that seeks to connect large companies and investment funds to new enterprises: amid a sharp downturn in the Brazilian economy, there are new players courting the country’s startups. In addition to giants such as IBM, Embraer, Intel and Natura, there are also mid-sized companies, such as ilegra, which have been working closely with the movement. They are smaller but very agile companies that, although considered to be in their developing stages, are ready to gamble on open innovation as a means to achieve growth.
Bruno Rondani, 100 Open Startups coordinator, believes that the participation of companies like ilegra is just as relevant – or perhaps even more – as the engagement of large corporations in the movement. “One thing these companies have in common is the capacity and the desire to constantly seek growth and innovation. This is perhaps a more accurate reflection of the new dynamics of innovation as a distributed process, because startups also cater to the large companies”, he adds. According to Rondani, it is the large corporations that traditionally integrate these initiatives, but the new twist this year has been the arrival of partners like ilegra. “I find it a bit surprising – after all, we didn’t exactly design the program for companies of this size, but they’re coming”, he says happily.
For ilegra, a company focused on growth and innovation, joining this kind of movement is only natural. After all, the company has been in business for 13 years helping its clients to do exactly that – grow and innovate. “Since it was established in 2002, ilegra has always aimed high – in fact, its slogan is ‘think beyond’. The goal of the company is to be increasingly more present in the country’s innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem, and this was one of our main motivations to join 100 Open Startups”, says Romulo Dornelles, Marketing and Innovation director. “It is important to create opportunities for the company to be in touch with brand-new initiatives by which ilegra can help drive business growth, either through investment or even through some business management skills”, Rondani concludes.
As such, ilegra sponsored two different challenges: “Information Society” and “Open Challenge”. The best startups from the first stage, which took place remotely, were invited to meet with representatives from the companies associated with the specific challenge in one of Brazil’s 13 Innovation Capitals. From ilegra, the personnel who got to know and assessed these new ideas were Roger Muller – Director of Alliances, Anderson Lattuada – Financial and HR Director, and Caroline Capitani – Manager of Marketing and Innovation, all of which attended meetings in Campinas, Belo Horizonte, São Paulo and Curitiba.
After this stage, completed in December, the startups considered most attractive are going to be nominated to the 100 Open Startups of 2015, and will participate in the final event at Open Innovation Week, the country’s main open innovation event and one of the most important in the world, which will be held in February in São Paulo.
The initiative to participate in the movement is part of the company’s broader innovation strategy, which currently includes partnerships such as those that ilegra maintains with the legal department, and which resulted in the development of Supply Tax Solution (STS), aimed at tax validations, rules and quotes.
“To foster a culture of innovation, we are participating in the 100 Open Startups movement, and have our own innovation programs, among other brand-new initiative capturing channels with profitability potential”, Dornelles concludes.