Size does matter. A success story of organic growth — kick-started through acquisitions

Organic growth is great. But it’s time-consuming. And if you want to expand, you can’t invest years just to establish your business in each new market. “We needed to accelerate our growth and impact, to increase our expertise and service portfolio. Rapidly. Such a thing is only possible by well-selected acquisitions,” says Martin Pejša, Creative Dock’s CEO. And it was actually these successful acquisitions that turned his European corporate venture builder into the largest independent player in its category — rivaling the venture-building activities of the “Big Four”.

Starting January 2023, Creative Dock is becoming one entity, with Spark Works, FoundersLane, and IdeaSense adopting the Creative Dock brand, while Rohrbeck Heger stays on as Creative Dock’s sub-brand.

Having grown from a Prague-based startup to an international corporate venture builder in the past 11 years, Creative Dock is currently the place to go if you wish to identify space for innovation and create new revenue through impactful digital ventures. The company’s organic growth reached 100% year-on-year. However, to grow strategically, you need more than a high percentage.

Do you want to know more about corporate venture building? Get in touch.

The transfer of brands takes place about a year after the acquisition of the first company, the Swiss Spark Works. There are now 500+ experts from all five companies under the roof of Creative Dock.

Acquisitions can help catch the window of opportunity

“In every market, you have a window of opportunity open for a couple of years. In our business of corporate venture building, of course, we work with unique propositions for new ventures that increase the value of companies based on their existing assets. No one will come up with those. But there are a limited number of clients who are inclined to change their business model. So it’s necessary to start collaboration at the right time,” explains Pejša. And what exactly did the Creative Dock acquisitions bring? Thanks to the acquisition of four companies: (in chronological order) Spark Works (CH), Rohrbeck Heger (GER), FoundersLane (GER), and IdeaSense (CZ), the company has significantly strengthened its position in corporate venture building and its portfolio of services for clients within just a few months.

“Starting January 2023, Creative Dock is becoming one entity, with Spark Works, FoundersLane, and IdeaSense adopting the Creative Dock brand, while Rohrbeck Heger stays on as Creative Dock’s sub-brand.”

What are the real benefits for our clients?

Gathering the team and expertise under one roof (a metaphorical one, of course, as Creative Dock, is a company proud of spanning across borders) will bring real value to CD’s clients:

  • Broader expertise — from strategic foresight to innovation to hands-on venture-building, including the launch and scaling of new ventures on the market
  • Stronger and more diverse team — more than 500 professionals now work for Creative Dock, bringing in a variety of skills, know-how, and cultures
  • Wider reach in Europe and MENA — with 5 offices in 5 metropolitan hubs: Berlin, Prague, Riyadh, Vienna, and Zurich, and the reach which spans beyond those areas across the regions of Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa
Creative Dock was founded 11 years ago by Martin Pejša. Organic growth was not fast enough, so the expansion into the DACH and MENA regions was accelerated by the acquisition of established local companies.

The story of acquisitions: on the same wavelength

The brand transition comes a year after acquiring the first company, Swiss innovation firm — Spark Works. “I gathered the team to share some exciting news then: we were joining Creative Dock! Now, 12 months later, we’ve arrived at a critical milestone in this process: phasing out the Spark Works brand and fully integrating ourselves into Creative Dock,” explains Linda Armbruster, former CEO of Spark Works who has since moved to the role of Director of Collaborative Innovation. “Sure, we’re leaving something behind,” she adds, “but through this transition, we gain even more: a crew of talented and passionate colleagues in the CD Innovation & Strategy team. Working together, we have further strengthened our commitment — and excitement! — to address complex, real-world problems with some of the brightest minds in innovation.

“We’re future-focused, we’re human-centered, and we’re redefining the front-end of corporate venture building.”

When innovation meets strategic foresight

Alongside the combined innovation expertise, CD’s methodology has recently been enriched with a deep, science-backed knowledge of strategic foresight, courtesy of Rohrbeck Heger (now Rohrbeck Heger by Creative Dock). The German firm expanded the ranks of Creative Dock in January 2022, just one month after Spark Works did. Since then, the team of 100+ innovation specialists, led by Rohrbeck Heger’s co-founder and current Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer, Tobias Heger, has been hard at work on tweaking and enhancing all innovation and strategy stages. These extend from foresight to initial insights to innovation design and its validation, building a foundation to create new evidence-based, future-proof ventures…

Corporate venture building — an exciting new category

… which is where the entrepreneurial spirit comes alive. And speaking of entrepreneurial spirit, the FoundersLane team has always had plenty. Creative Dock acquired the company, which is widely considered a co-creator of the corporate venture-building category, in July 2022. This has brought in a team of over 100 entrepreneurs, founders, and tech experts with venture-building experience spanning not only countries but even continents, helping to reinforce Creative Dock’s presence in the MENA region.

“When done right, joining forces and combining expertise never means just adding one thing to another. 1+1+1+1+1 equals more than 5.”

Stronger together! No cliché, just a fact

What is Martin Pejša’s guide to choosing the companies he has merged under that one metaphorical roof? He believes that this kind of acceleration can only be accomplished by inviting other big players to the game. The fourth player is IdeaSense, a Prague-based innovation company, who comes equipped with skills in fast-growing industries such as manufacturing and construction as well as a strong tool — Ideapoly®, a one-of-a-kind software platform that is able to accurately predict the potential of various business models and ideas.

Kateřina Čiháková Ailová and Ruda Čihák brought to Creative Dock two dozen ex-IdeaSense experts famous for their precise innovative methodology and the unique research tool Ideapoly®.

“It took us 10 years and a huge amount of work to build IdeaSense as it is known today: a firm that helps bring innovations to life, sets a course for our clients, and helps them innovate internally,” describes Kateřina Čiháková Ailová, who has co-founded the company with Rudolf Čihák. “Now, with our team being integrated into Creative Dock, we get to transfer what we have built to a new environment. In becoming part of the Creative Dock brand, we are taking a big leap, but we’re also bringing everything we have created with us.”

Are you looking to add value to your company through meaningful services or products? Interested in making use of our portfolio to fulfill your long-term business goals? Our job is to build ventures that get you there.

Get in touch.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Creative Dock Corporate Venture Builder

We create new products by building & scaling them on top of big companies' existing assets. With the aim to increase the value of clients. Creativedock.com