In May 2017 Klasmann-Deilmann entered into a strategic partnership with StartLife. The partnership was aimed at boosting their innovation development program and gaining access to innovative startups in commercial horticulture. As the collaboration exceeded their expectations by far, the market leader in professional horticulture substrates decided to extend their corporate partnership for another three years.
“StartLife has demonstrated to be a truly valuable partner in further developing our innovation road map and help initiating our corporate-startup engagement,” says Ted Vollebregt, managing director of Klasmann-Deilmann Benelux. “The StartLife staff gave us great input for our innovation program and has been very helpful in building bridges to numerous organizations,” adds Sjors Beijer, Innovation Manager at Klasmann-Deilmann.
Ted Vollebregt notes that they have learned a great deal from their interactions with startups, most notably from Sigrow with whom they partnered up with, but also from the close contacts with the other corporate partners of StartLife. “The corporate partners of StartLife cover a broad section of the value chain, which allows us to gain from a diverse set of experiences on corporate-startup engagement and a more holistic perspective on developments in the market.”
Finding horticultural talents
Wageningen is an excellent spot to connect with business peers and stay up-to-date with latest developments. For Klasmann-Deilmann, Wageningen has also proven to be an excellent source of horticultural talents. Sjors Beijer explains: “It is challenging to find good staff in commercial horticulture. Our close connections with Wageningen Campus, among them StartLife, are helpful in finding the right people. During our partnership with StartLife we have successfully attracted several talented employees from Wageningen University & Research who are now employed with us in several parts in the world.”
Stirred, not shaken
For Caroline Bijkerk, who is fully dedicated to making each corporate partnership with StartLife successful for all parties involved, the extension is as much a business success as personally rewarding. “Getting the right mix of corporate partners, startups and other stakeholders together can be a challenging task. It is a cocktail of diverse organizational cultures, shared believes, love for innovation and much more, stirred but not shaken by the desire to create real impact,” expresses Caroline Bijkerk. “I look forward to the following three years of collaboration with the team of Klasmann-Deilmann.”