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.”
p.s. You can also follow StartLife on Linkedin, Twitter or stay up to date with the latest news about and for agrifood startups, scaleups and more via the StartLife newsletter.
Supporting young entrepreneurs and innovative ideas | Aimed at finding innovations to promote horticulture
The Klasmann-Deilmann Group is increasing its activities to develop innovative product solutions for the professional horticulture sector. They have recently begun a partnership with the Dutch Food & Agri Accelerator StartLife, which is supported by Wageningen University & Research and hosts its headquarters at the Wageningen campus. The partnership will focus on co-operations with startups by promising sustainable innovations that can take horticulture to a next level.
In addition to Jan Meiling, Managing Director of StartLife, the official contract signing ceremony was attended by Ted Vollebregt, Managing Director of Klasmann-Deilmann Benelux, and Sjors Beijer, Project Manager at the Netherlands branch of the sales company. Both of them are responsible for innovation at Klasmann-Deilmann and therefore will engage in StartLife activities on campus.
The value of StartLife
In the run-up to the partnership, Klasmann-Deilmann has attended several events at the Wageningen Campus and talked to candidates from all over the world about their projects. “We are delighted with the diversity and intensity that Wageningen devotes to research and innovation,” said Norbert Siebels, Managing Director of the Klasmann-Deilmann Group. “These young entrepreneurs and their excellent ideas deserve a chance – and we wish to give, at least some of them, that chance. We will have close contact with the startups by being present on campus to support the selected innovations that will help to advance horticulture for the industry and the entrepreneur.”
The value of Wageningen
Wageningen University & Research is one of the world’s most highly respected institutes in the field of agriculture and life sciences and one of its main research areas is commercial horticulture. StartLife is affiliated to the university and promotes graduates and young entrepreneurs whose startups work on promising projects with a practical focus. Managing Director Jan Meiling comments on the partnership with Klasmann-Deilmann: “Growing media are still essential for the success of horticultural companies. In view of the company’s keen interest in research and development, we are confident that Klasmann-Deilmann is an ideal match for us and our startups. We are already looking forward to exciting joint projects which will lead to the development of innovative applications and sustainable growing media.”
Klasmann-Deilmann is the leading group of companies in the international substrate industry, with subsidiaries and trade partners in more than 70 countries. Their substrates provide the basis for plant growth and for the success of horticultural companies. As an up-and-coming provider of renewable resources, they are also active in the renewable energy sector. In the 2016 financial year, they had a workforce of 940 employees and generated sales worth approximately EUR 186 million.