How Start it @KBC and Mobile Vikings team up to boost innovation
Mobile Vikings and Start it @KBC go way back. Practically since the very beginning of Start it @KBC, the two have been close partners. Now that the mobile operator is part of the DPG Media group, this partnership is being taken to a new level.
Edgar Warmoes, of the startup Jureca, paid Mobile Vikings a visit to find out how this partnership impacts both parties. Jureca is a legal advice and service platform, that has been a member of the Start it @KBC community for three years now. Edgar met with Mobile Vikings’ HR & People Lead Sofie Van Eemeren and Community Manager Saskia Buntinx.
“When we became a partner of Start it @KBC, we were practically still a startup ourselves”, Sofie explains. “We knew how to do certain things, and how not to do certain others. We joined with the idea of paying things forward, of sharing our experiences with the rest of the startup community.”
Does the recent evolution of Mobile Vikings change the company’s approach towards startups? “No, not at all”, Sofie says. “We joined Medialaan three years ago, which later became a part of De Persgroep. That group recently transformed into DPG Media, but it does not change our commitment to Start it @KBC. It just means we have taken the partnership to the group level now.”
Reaching potential customers
DPG Media reaches up to 80% of Flemish people every day with its media brands. For the startups of Start it @KBC, this offers a lot of potential in terms of online advertising. “We can play an important role by helping startups reach potential customers”, Sofie explains. “We’ve invested a great deal in our online services in recent years. DPG Media offers numerous online platforms that lead directly to a specific service, like Livios in the construction sector, Mijn Energie in the energy branch or Spaargids in the financial segment. Advertising on these platforms can be a great way for startups to reach potential customers.”
The Viking Lab
The link between Mobile Vikings and innovation is illustrated best by their Viking Lab. It’s a user panel laboratory where a team of so-called Viking Pioneers tests and validates new digital features and concepts. “We asked the entire Mobile Vikings community if they were interested in contributing to the testing of new features”, community manager Saskia, who runs the Viking Lab together with Roxanne Callaert, explains. “Those features can be developed by us, but they can also come from external startups. We offer the startup community of Start it @KBC free access to the Viking Lab, so their products or concepts can be tested by the Viking Pioneers. All we ask in return is that there’s something in it for the Vikings. This doesn’t necessarily need to be money, we want startups to be creative”, Saskia says.
A startup like Jureca, which wants to be a modern alternative to the outdated legal sector, obviously has a lot to gain from the Viking Lab. “For us, the lab can be of great value”, founder Edgar says. “The digital pioneers of Viking Lab expect a certain service level when it comes to online platforms. They are used to the one-day delivery of Amazon or the comfort of Uber Eats. That’s a service level they’re not finding in the legal sector right now. It would be extremely interesting for us to introduce our product to that target group and receive their feedback”, Edgar concludes.