The Rainmaking story is about a group of entrepreneurs who came together at different times. People who wanted to use their experiences to grow businesses. By joining forces, the founders of Rainmaking, could achieve their goals, while still maximizing their happiness in life.
Initially, the partnership focused on building startups. Sharing in both the successes, and the failures – if one venture fails, it’s alright, because others may succeed. To date Rainmaking has built 25 companies ranging from traditional tech startups to a chain of eye laser clinics. Not all have been successful, but eight have exited.
Today several of the businesses still run under the Rainmaking management – including Rainmaking Loft; Startupbootcamp; and Rainmaking Innovation. Those businesses, employing over 400 people around the globe, form the core of our mission to deliver positive impact through entrepreneurship to startups and corporates.
Startupbootcamp was founded in 2010. It is now an industry focused accelerator program with the mission to actively support thousands of startups and their founders. The program is now one of the largest accelerators in the world, with programs active in 15 cities across five continents. Since 2010, 375 Startupbootcamp teams from 38 classes have raised over €140 million with a combined valuation of more than €700 million.
“Frustration” is what promoted Nektarios Liolios, co-founder & CEO Startupbootcamp FinTech and co-founder Rainmaking Innovation, to launch Startupbootcamp FinTech in 2014, after 16 years working within the financial services industry.
Large organizations often struggle to keep up with the pace of technology change. Startups are leading this change but often need industry players such as banks and insurers to validate their proposition to show that it can work on an enterprise level.
The FinTech program, and later the InsurTech program in 2015 at Startupbootcamp, was founded as a way to be instrumental in bringing large organizations and startups together in an enabling environment.
After a career that saw Alex Farcet, partner at Rainmaking and co-founder at Startupbootcamp spend time in Silicon Valley and a corporate career at DHL in Europe, his life was thrown a curve ball. Both he and his son were diagnosed with cancer. While that journey has a happy ending, Alex’s definition of risk changed and he went to back to life as an entrepreneur.
Through this work in the startup scene, Alex met Martin Bjergegaard, which led to the launch of the inaugural Startupbootcamp program in Copenhagen in Jan. 2010.
The experience of running Startupbootcamp highlighted a key factor in the success of a startup - a supportive ecosystem. A key factor in building and maintaining an ecosystem, which will have a lasting impact on a region and an industry, are physical spaces. In 2013 we launched the Rainmaking Loft co-working spaces in London, Copenhagen and Berlin.
The Rainmaking Lofts are more than office space. They are physical hubs where spontaneous connections happen. Where community is made. This community ebbs and flows with a thousand stories of success and failure – each feeding and offering their experience of risk to each other. The Rainmaking Loft provides a home to seasoned serial entrepreneurs and neophyte founders alike.
Working with startups and promoting entrepreneurship remains at the heart of our business at Rainmaking. However, it was though this work - building ecosystems, supporting startups and partnering with industry players - we came to realise that these experiences and skills could be used to benefit the established corporate world as well.
Each Startupbootcamp accelerator program works with a collaboration of corporate partners. Because of this, startups gain access to qualified mentors and advisors with deep industry experience and can start working with potential strategic partners. These program sponsors – who include names like Lloyds Banking Group, Mercedes-Benz, Allianz, and Cisco - gain an early look at new business models and technologies. While their employees learn a new way of working alongside startups.
Our focus on industry collaboration has given us a unique perspective. We saw an incredible opportunity to enable impact through entrepreneurship on a massive scale.
Not only are established companies increasingly partnering with startups. But, more and more they are looking to instil an entrepreneurial mindset within the company. To embed resiliency - a cultural ability to quickly adapt to change.
Entrepreneurship is not reserved for a few individuals on the fringes – the boys in hoodies or tempestuous billionaires of Silicon Valley myth – it is a mindset. We at Rainmaking believe it is a toolkit that can be applied even within the largest and most complex organizations.
In 2013 we took our experience building and working with startups, and adapted to the unique challenges of the corporate entrepreneur by forming Rainmaking Innovation.
Jordan Schlipf, partner at Rainmaking, dreamt of the golden age of industry as a child. He idolised engineering titans like Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who in their time used the forefront of science and mathematics combined with a bold vision of a brighter future. Today, Jordan found his path as a modern-day Brunel through entrepreneurship and startups.
Rainmaking’s vision is a belief that the greatest progress and value to be unlocked, in order to be at the forefront of technology and business models is to be at the intersection of ‘big' and ‘small’ - the nexus of startup/entrepreneurship and large corporation.
A startup begins with a blank canvas – while it is not encumbered by bureaucracy, set process, governance and other such big corporate shackles that prevent innovation - but it also does not start with millions of customers, huge existing infrastructure, resource, brand, credibility, regulation etc. Opportunities exist by combining the best of big with the best of small.
Mindset, Skills and Confidence
Through Rainmaking Innovation, we provide teams with the mindset, skills, and confidence to ideate, create, and scale new business. We have done this in a number of ways. By helping corporates and startups have more meaningful engagements, providing increased value for both sides. By delivering expert training for internal teams. And, by partnering to build and launch new ventures - startup style.
Our mission remains - To create positive impact through entrepreneurship.
Embarking on a journey – even an innovation journey – is scary and lonely if you don’t have access to a solid ecosystem that offers experience and guidance. We at Rainmaking have spent years gathering that experience in an effort to understand, manage and mitigate risks. The world we have created and the companies we have started are not filled with fear and compromise. It is filled with bravery and community.
And we would like to share that with you.
This is our story.