The Clash of Civilizations? What corporates can learn from start-ups #archsummit

“How we do business hasn’t changed conceptually for many hundreds of years. Just like in Roman times, we deliver goods or a service, subsequently send an invoice, and wait for 30–60 days to get paid. In spite of the technological advances we have witnessed for the past years, we have merely been creating small improvements or optimising, a flawed and archaic system. It’s about time that we leverage the blockchain to deflate the global financial supply chain”.

With these words, our CCO Martin Quensel started the pitch on the disruptive startups stage, to a wide-eyed and somewhat sceptic audience and jury.

At Centrifuge, we have started our journey to build the Operating System for Global Commerce, an open, decentralised platform to power the global financial supply chain, and last week brought us to Luxembourg, more specifically, to Archsummit, to present our project.

Archsummit is the first edition of a joint venture between Vodafone and Tomorrow Street, the innovation centre of the Government of Luxembourg. The conference was attempting to bridge and create synergies between startups and corporates, in a context of heightened interest in spillover effects and innovation, particularly in the fields of IoT, artificial intelligence and security.

Apart from pitching our project and speaking on a panel titled “Blockchain: Hype or 21st Century Revolution”, we came with two primary objectives:

  1. Identifying new companies and pilot projects looking to partner with us
  2. Connecting with the Fintech community

Back in our bright office in Berlin, I can say that we successfully did a bit of both, with the following observations taking centre stage:

-How can corporates understand new disruptive business and revenue models when they don’t fit their current thinking? More specifically, in our case, this manifested as disbelief in a business model constructed around ideas of equality, meritocracy, levelling the playing field and open, fair internal governance structures that benefit the user and the organisation.

-How can the power imbalance between startups and corporates be successfully addressed? With the current scale tilting heavily towards the beneficial effects of corporates partnering with startups, but rarely a reflection on what startups can get from partnering with corporates, this is worth thinking about. Yes, startups bring agility and innovation to your organisation, but what do they get in return? Corporate partnerships, while adding value, are also time consuming as well as distracting from the core mission.

We are preparing a frenzy of activity this spring and summer, with ArchSummit being the first in a series of public events we will be hosting or participating at. We would like to share why we believe in a future of easy access to financing, data ownership and decentralised governance structures.

If you want to read more about what it is we’re building, our white paper will be published very soon. If you want to stay in touch, follow us twitter . Oh, and we’re hiring!