Zurich: Creative Dock Group (CDG), Europe’s leading corporate venture builder, has acquired FoundersLane and has created the largest independent corporate venture builder in the world. Both companies design, build and scale digital businesses and products across different industries and verticals, over the last decade having launched more than 100 ventures around the world for European and MENA region clients. The group’s total annualized turnover will exceed EUR 100 mil. within two years, with an expected annual growth rate of over 50%. By the end of this year, CDG will employ more than 600 employees, working from seven places with key offices in Zurich, Prague, Berlin, Vienna, and Riyadh. With the acquisition, Creative Dock Group has increased its presence in the MENA region, where the firm plans to invest over EUR 100 mil. over the next five years.
CDG: a leader in the fast-growing venture business category
Creative Dock was one of the first companies in Europe to develop corporate ventures as a service and started offering them to corporate clients ten years ago. Corporate venture building has proven a successful way for large companies to bring their customers innovative and profitable products.
The acquisition makes Creative Dock Group the largest independent player in the fast-growing corporate venture business category. We forecast more than 50% annual growth in this segment as corporations reshift from pure venture capital investments to a more targeted approach to venture building. This makes Creative Dock Group a new independent leader alongside management consulting firms and its business units, such as BCG Digital Ventures and Leap by McKinsey, in the global market for professional services around digitizing businesses, which is worth hundreds of billions.
Martin Pejsa, Founder & CEO of Creative Dock Group says: “We have been working with FoundersLane for two years now and our partnership has grown stronger over time. FoundersLane successfully co-created the venture business category and has the unique DNA of its entrepreneurial founders, uniting several extremely successful serial entrepreneurs surrounded by great teams. I am therefore delighted to welcome them into our family. We both stand out in execution; this is our core. Our main purpose is to not only create valuable ventures and profit for our clients, but to also have a positive impact on people’s lives. Our goal is to build ventures and products with our clients that will be used by 1bn people world-wide in the next five years.”
Felix Staeritz, Co-Founder & CEO of FoundersLane and future CDG board member says: “Corporate venture building is on the rise and is the new gold in times of inflation and uncertainty. For many executives, it is already the go-to alternative to venture capital investments. I value the pioneering work Martin has done over the last decade and what he has built with Creative Dock. Our joint company is going to reshape the market, bringing venture building from the niche into the core of the corporate service market. It’s our goal to offer our clients an even more excellent, fast, and international service. Whenever boards discuss new venturing projects, we aspire for Creative Dock to be first on call. Because for us, being digital is not an add-on and palm leaf, but the only way to be.”
Middle East and North Africa markets focus
“FoundersLane has a very strong and passionate team not only in Europe but also in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They have made an important mark and hold a strong ventures track record in the MENA region, which is going to be one of the focus regions for the whole group. Overall, many countries in the MENA region are also moving in a similar direction, increasing their focus on the digital economy and introducing strategic initiatives to enhance digitalization. We want to help transform and accelerate the MENA region into a state-of-the-art digital economy and we are ready to invest EUR 100 mil. into the region over the next few years,” Martin Pejsa adds.
The Middle East has made significant progress in the adoption of digital technologies over the last decade. Consequently, digitalization is a vital component of the national vision and development plans across the region. And there are already some great examples that show the extent of digitalization in the region and the future evolution of the digital economy.
According to their Vision 2030, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – the biggest economy in the Gulf region and the world’s largest oil exporter – is aiming to increase its share of non-oil Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from 16% in 2016 to 50% by 2030. Today, all the Gulf Cooperation Council countries have a similar national vision focusing on developing non-oil sectors for economic growth, local value and employment creation, as well as social development.
“We set up our MENA headquarters in Riyadh to support the innovation and entrepreneurship culture in the Kingdom and the wider MENA region and contribute to achieving the goals of Saudi’s Vision 2030 of becoming the world’s investment powerhouse. And this joint journey with Creative Dock will accelerate our efforts in finding talents and emerging entrepreneurs and offering them a taste of a diverse future,” says Asim Al-Rajhi, FoundersLane Managing Director in the MENA region.
Wide range of clients and acquisitions in excess of EUR 55 million
Creative Dock also recently acquired two companies – Spark Works, Switzerland’s leading innovation firm, and German Rohrbeck Heger, a leading European strategic foresight firm. Creative Dock Group thus spent EUR 55 million on acquisitions in the last 12 months.
For both companies’ clients, the acquisition means expanded capabilities – increased diversity of services, profound knowledge of other industries, or the ability to better scale projects across Europe. The FoundersLane group has a long list of impressive clients, e.g. Vattenfall, Allianz, Adidas, Henkel, Trumpf or Saptco. The Creative Dock clients include Société General, Raiffeisen Bank International, Avast, Škoda Auto, Mondeléz, Talanx Group, SwissRe, Vodafone, and many more.
About Creative Dock
Creative Dock, Europe’s leading corporate venture builder founded in 2012, builds up companies across Europe. Creative Dock designs, builds and scales digital products across different industries, among them fintech, insurtech, marketplaces, retail, e-health, or utility industries. Over 450 execution-driven and highly skilled team members have launched more than 65 ventures in Europe over the last ten years. Creative Dock secures the whole creation or transformation process in house – from strategic foresight, to ideation, prototyping, testing, building, data analytics and taking to market. To accelerate growth and expand services, Creative Dock recently acquired two companies: Spark Works, Switzerland’s leading innovation firm, and the German Rohrbeck Heger, a leading European strategic foresight firm.
FoundersLane is the premier corporate venture builder active in Europe and MENA. Founded in 2016 in Berlin, it is one of the first companies to establish venture building as a new asset class for corporate innovation. FoundersLane’s team of entrepreneurs and commercialisation experts specialize in building strategic portfolios of impactful digital ventures from idea to scale. The team differentiates with 360-degree early-stage experience – boasting startup failures, successful exits, IPOs, as well as investor perspectives. 50+ selected corporate partners range from established European corporations such as Vattenfall, Allianz, and Bosch to private and publicly listed companies in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait & the wider MENA region such as SAPTCO. The company has offices in Berlin, Riyadh, Cologne, and Vienna.