Through its corporate venture activities, Sopra Steria is at the core of innovation ecosystems. As an integrator of innovative solutions, the Group acts as a link between its clients' challenges and the solutions offered by start-ups.
New record for French Tech. According to EY's latest venture capital barometer, French startups raised €5.14 billion in the first six months of 2021. This is almost double the figure for the same period in 2020. While these start-ups are a showcase for made in France innovation, the market is not limited to this. As its name suggests, open innovation opens a much wider field of possibilities.
“In our open and connected world, no player can claim they have full control of the value chain including innovation,” says Jean-Bernard Rampini, Executive Innovation & Corporate Venture at Sopra Steria. “Innovations emerge every day from all digital players, whether they are large companies, start-ups, private and public research laboratories or competitive clusters.”
Collaboration with ecosystems, a strategic challenge
Sopra Steria's strategic positioning at the heart of its customers' digital transformation challenges and its knowledge of ecosystems, combined with its sector-specific consulting and technological expertise, make it a pivotal company at the very heart of these ecosystems, building bridges between all stakeholders.
“To contribute to the emergence of new solutions and accelerate their introduction to the market, Sopra Steria must be a pivotal company in each of our verticals such as finance, aerospace, defence, transport, telecoms, energy, health and the public sector,” continues Jean-Bernard Rampini. “It's about combining the skills of our teams with those of innovative ecosystems.”
As such, the Group can act as a catalyst for open innovation and stimulate innovation with its customers not only to create value but also to mobilise its employees on new innovative solutions based on disruptive technologies.
“Driven by technological development and new uses, disruptions are accelerating in all markets,” insists Jean-Bernard Rampini. “All companies must develop a capacity to collaborate with their ecosystems, which has never been so vital to support their transformation and increase their competitiveness.”
This observation led to the creation, in 2019, of Sopra Steria Ventures, which aims to identify and qualify these ecosystems, integrating new technologies and new uses, to enable Sopra Steria's teams to provide the best possible response to the problems encountered by the Group's customers. “We respond to calls for tender together and we also co-create new assets,” explains Jean-Bernard Rampini.
Over 100 partnerships with start-ups based on a permanent watch over several thousand start-ups
Sopra Steria Ventures invests, directly or via partner investment funds, in companies that provide a strategic offering or technology for Sopra Steria's solutions and customers.
Sopra Steria Ventures is therefore not limited to an investment role but is a true business and industrial partner. In three years, the Group has taken minority stakes in the capital of start-ups and co-created a joint venture in the health sector in Scandinavia. It has also invested in three partner funds: ACE Capital Partners - Brienne III, which operates in the world of cybersecurity, Truffle Financial Innovation Fund in the world of Fintech and Insurtech and Spring Invest in Retailtech and the supply chain.
In total, the Sopra Steria Ventures portfolio includes a significant deal flow that is constantly being monitored and has made it possible to qualify 300 startups, sign more than 100 industrial partnerships and make 28 direct or indirect investments. "With a few exceptions, Sopra Steria Ventures does not intervene in the seed phase, but rather in the raising of funds, in series A and above, from French or European start-ups," adds Jean-Bernard Rampini. "The start-up must make a real technological contribution to one of our market verticals."
“Thanks to its driving force, a group like Sopra Steria can provide the best innovation on a given subject in order to produce an industrial solution that can be rapidly integrated,” concludes Jean-Bernard Rampini. “More than a proof of concept (POC), it is a question of proposing a proof of value that responds to a real customer problem.”