Building a venture portfolio is essential for survival

Are you looking to boost the success of your company? Who isn’t!

This week, Flavilla spoke to Julian RitterAssociate Partner at Corporate Venture Builder Stryber. They discussed “Why building a venture portfolio is essential for the survival or large companies”


Briefly, what aspects should be considered when building a venture portfolio?

For a corporate, the main aspects to consider when building a venture portfolio are the corporate’s strategic and financial goals. A venture portfolio can be a powerful means to establish new business models generating new future revenues as well as a means to fight and win strategic must-win battles. But in order to do so successfully, a corporate has to define those goals in detail and get the necessary buy-in from all key stakeholders first.

Another key aspect to consider are the people involved in the corporate’s venture building efforts. Building high-growth ventures is completely different from managing a large, well-established corporate. So a corporate should not assume it already has the right talent in place to drive such initiatives but look for the right people outside their organization.


For companies who want to start building a venture portfolio, how should they go about it?

The first step is to develop an innovation framework. This will underpin the building of venture portfolios as a way to successfully drive corporate innovation. A good innovation framework includes a clear vision of the future, strategic goals, the right selection criteria for what ventures to build, as well as a quantitative analysis of the desired goals, investment levels and innovation strategies. Furthermore, the right corporate governance setup needs to be defined. This is to ensure the innovation unit developing the venture portfolio is managed differently to the core organization. In addition, it should be judged on a different set of KPIs. The reason being that building new ventures is a completely different task from managing a long-established large corporate. When all of this is established, a company can start to put the right people in place to build its first venture. 


Julian’s journey to where he is now

Julian started his career at strategy consulting firm Bain & Company in London. While at Bain, he worked across various industries including private equity, financial services and utilities. This was across various geographies including the UK, Germany, the Nordics, Eastern Europe and the United States. 

In 2016 he decided to leave Bain to found his own startup in the sharing economy and vacation rental space. Julian grew his startup to several million euros in revenues and expanded to three countries after raising a few rounds of venture capital. Julian had to sell his business in early 2020 after growth had slowed down in 2019. Great time to take a break and go travelling, right? Well Covid didn’t think so and thus Julian enjoyed a few months of London lockdown instead (and of course became a pro sourdough bread baker). 

In June 2020 he then joined corporate venture builder, Stryber, as an Associate Partner to open up their London office. Stryber builds high-growth ventures (i.e. startups) for and with corporate partners. This helps drive innovation, establish new significant revenue streams and put corporates on the path towards a successful long-term future. 


What drew Julian to this field?

In a time of accelerating disruption, Stryber strives to help established organizations overcome the innovator’s dilemma. They do so with the goal of preparing those organizations to face the future and to be successful in the long run. That is an ambition Julian himself is very passionate about. As a corporate venture builder, Stryber combines strategy consulting and venture building expertise. This not only builds ventures together with corporates, but to also put them in the right context. Consequently, it reduces associated risks and increases their long term impact. 

Julian’s professional background in strategy consulting and as a startup founder is therefore well aligned with what Stryber delivers.


What have been Julian’s biggest lessons learnt from growing his business?

From Julian’s experience in building up his own startup, the first piece of advice he gives to new founders is to aim big. Secondly, find the right balance between stubbornness and understanding when you need to change course. Finally, assemble a team of people who are willing to work hard and who complement your skills well.


Thinking about your legacy, how do you want to be remembered?

“I will be happy as long as my family and friends remember me as a loving and interesting person, who brought joy to their lives”.


About Julian

Julian is an Associate Partner at Corporate Venture Builder Stryber. He is an entrepreneur and former strategy consultant. After several years at consulting firm Bain & Company, he founded a hospitality tech startup in 2016. He grew this company to over 100 employees across 3 countries. After selling the business, he moved to Stryber where he helps established organisations innovate successfully by building a strategically relevant startup.


Stryber website, click here

Stryber LinkedIn, click here

Julian’s LinkedIn, click here

To listen to the podcast version, click here