” You can’t give a start-up a kick-start unless you know why many of them experience shut-down ”

Emma Wolthuizen & Rogier van der Klauw,
consultants Business Model Transformation.

The best initiatives and projects, such as the successful Lightyear project, tend to emerge in an environment where people inspire each other continuously. Emma and Rogier joined Deloitte not long ago, but have already made an impact both internally and externally through their work at a start-up called Lightyear.

During one of the ‘Thinkubator’ sessions (internal brainstorms where Deloitters reserve 2 full weeks to stimulate innovation and explore where Deloitte can apply its knowledge outside its regular commercial line of business), the scale-up team of Business Model Transformation gave a presentation about the application of corporate knowledge and experience in start-ups. Because as it turns out, many start-ups fail when left to their own devices. They usually have a good idea, but their organisations are often not ready for the growth that comes with initial success.

One thing led to another.

Rogier, a Business Model Transformation Consultant, met Maijke at university. She is now COO at Lightyear, which is a young company with a remarkable product: an electric car that charges itself using solar panels installed in the roof.  

Together with his colleagues, Robert and Emma, Rogier convinced Maijke and Lightyear’s founders of the benefit of improving Lightyear’s existing organisational model in order to facilitate faster and more structured growth. A new, innovative collaboration between a start-up and a major consultancy was born.
 

Rogier: Over 90 percent of start-ups fail on their own, which is something you need to learn from. We apply this knowledge to organisations where the directors are often our peers.

Maijke and her colleagues are laser-focused on developing the greenest electric car out there, which leaves their organisation, processes and administration lagging behind. Various sessions were conducted between Emma, Rogier and an extended Deloitte/Lightyear team over the course of a few weeks, in order to address this fact. Start-ups have a lot to learn from the knowledge and experience of corporates and should not be spending their valuable time reinventing the wheel.

The sessions revealed, among other things, that Lightyear’s existing organisational structures were not going to be helpful. As it turns out, some departments were in need of a more open structure whereas others would benefit from a more traditional, hierarchical organisation.

The organisational structure that was developed and implemented as a result of these sessions, allows Lightyear to grow successfully for years to come. Lightyear grew from 20 to 120 employees over the past year alone.

Upon completion of the project, Emma and Rogier concluded that everyone at Lightyear now has a better understanding of what to expect than they had before. Departments are better defined and employees know who to answer to.

Emma: “Another thing we learned is that we can connect more large corporations to the ecosystem of Lightyear through Deloitte. This is an interesting development from Deloitte’s perspective as well, since its profile develops from consultant, to trusted consultant, to director of the entire ecosystem.”

Rogier and Emma did seek often sought support from internal Subject Matter Experts throughout the project.

 “A fellow-Deloitter in America had run into the same type of situation before, at a developer of well-known electric cars in the States. All it takes is a couple of emails to find the right person at Deloitte who knows what’s what and will tell you what to expect. That is a great feeling. Deloitte boasts a remarkable internal knowledge base which is very accessible, even to relatively young employees like us.”  

What is truly spectacular at Deloitte, is your learning curve. We learn from the substance of our projects as well as from the colleagues with whom we work. This accounts for about 70% of our time. In addition, 20% of our learning proceeds through courses and education and 10% through various e-learning modules. Deloitte always encourages us to continue learning.”

What impact will you make?

Are you looking for a job that’s out of the ordinary, that you can truly make your own? Do you want to work, like Emma and Rogier, in an inspiring environment with exceptional people? Check out our vacancies and apply!

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