On the power of cooperation with start-ups

DIA 2022

Digitalisation & Technology, 30.06.2022

Why are partnerships with fintechs - or start-ups in general - so important for ERGO? And what do the start-ups get out of cooperating with such a big player? In his opening speech at this year's DIA, which took place in Amsterdam on 29 and 30 June 2022, ERGO CDO Mark Klein spoke enthusiastically about the factors for successful innovation management and the benefits of cooperation between large companies and start-ups.

Hanbing Ma and Mark Klein at DIA 2022 in Amsterdam

Hanbing Ma and Mark Klein at DIA 2022 in Amsterdam

"Close and respectful cooperation"

For the ERGO CDO, the fact that large companies are characterised by well-rehearsed and structured processes explicitly does not mean that they do not also have to prove themselves time and again. So how do established companies get fresh impulses? How do they know when it's time to change? And in which direction? In other words, how do large companies catch the "innovative spark" again and again when they have already been successful in their field of business for many years and do not feel any acute pressure to change?

For Mark Klein, this requires three things:

  1. corporate culture with the necessary willingness to change: "Without the right attitude of our employees there is no change, only they can shape it and drive it forward. We also need to be transparent and communicative as a company. We have to take our employees with us on our journey, we have to listen attentively and reduce concerns and reservations. Only then can we as a team create a culture that is open to innovation and change."
  2. Collaborations with agile partners: "These are nimble enough to be able to adjust their course easily - and are therefore able to develop and market innovations quickly to create a strong ecosystem."
  3. And last but not least, innovation scouting: "Not only do we need to identify innovations early, but we also need to find the right partners to work with; we need teams that have experience and a sense of new opportunities on the horizon."

ERGO is therefore deliberately working with a select group of start-ups and is focusing on long-term cooperation: "We want quality instead of quantity," underlines Mark Klein: "We want to establish a close and respectful cooperation from which both sides benefit."

“We need planned and controlled change - we need innovation so that we do not come to a permanent standstill.”

Mark Klein, CDO ERGO Group

How start-ups benefit from their partners

Joint developments should have a sustainable effect and "not just be a gimmick", the ERGO CDO appeals - and points to the strengths of a large company that benefit the smaller cooperation partners: "As an established company, we bring extensive industry know-how, established processes and a large amount of data that are fundamental for insurtechs". In addition, start-ups could benefit from strong networks and the level of awareness of established companies among their customers, in the industry and in society. "Such cooperation can take the start-up's development to the next stage of its own life cycle," Mark Klein envisages.

Examples of successful cooperation

ERGO was also represented on the DIA stage by Hanbing Ma, Head of Innovation Management and Max Lipa, IT Innnovation Manager. Hanbing Ma, together with Ilana Fletcher from Air Doctor, presented ERGO Travel Insurance's cooperation with the start-up: "Air Doctor's unique customer journey fits perfectly with our philosophy. We want to provide a hassle-free insurance experience for all our customers." Max Lipa also presented the cooperation with tech 11: "We show that it is possible to create or modify an insurance product and build a suitable online sales route based on it - as a complete no-code scenario."

Ilana Fletcher (left) from Air Doctor and Hanbing Ma, Head of Innovation Scouting at ERGO

Ilana Fletcher (left) from Air Doctor and Hanbing Ma, Head of Innovation Scouting at ERGO

Max Lipa, IT Innovation Manager at ERGO

Max Lipa, IT Innovation Manager at ERGO

Learn more

If you want to know what else was going on - here is the official website of the DIA:


There are also numerous impressions of the conference on Twitter and LinkedIn under the hashtag #DIAAMS.


Welcome at DIA 2022

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