About Us

The Academy for Corporate Entrepreneurship

The most scientific and rigorous methods for Corporate Entrepreneurship.

Our Story

Just like start-ups, large corporations know that they must innovate or face becoming obsolete. However, while 84% of executives recognise that innovation is fundamental to their growth strategy, and more than half of Fortune 500 companies have some kind of accelerator or incubator, 90% of corporate innovation initiatives are destined to fail.

More than half of organizations struggle to bridge the gap between innovation strategy and overarching business goals, and more than one third of companies fail to formally incentivise innovation. However for many, it simply comes down to not knowing what innovation really means.

For these reasons, corporates are being out-innovated by smaller businesses. Indeed, 80% of executives think their current business models are at risk of disruption in the near future, and two in five business leaders believe start-ups are already disrupting their industries.

The Academy for Corporate Entrepreneurship (AfCE) redresses the balance. Its global network of experienced mentors are changing the face of corporate culture and helping companies achieve a more entrepreneurial approach to innovation. AfCE’s programs help businesses identify and solve problems effectively and quickly – from specific customer or market needs through to the world’s most pressing and challenging concerns.

AfCE focuses on improving long-term innovation outcomes. Its programs help corporations reduce the failure rate of innovation projects, by saving money and eliminating wastage. They help corporations maximise the likelihood of launch success for every new product or service, in order to drive customer and revenue growth.

Our Founder

Jan Kennedy is an expert in intrapreneurship program design. As CEO at the Academy for Corporate Entrepreneurship (AfCE), he oversees the design and implementation of various intrapreneurship programs covering different stages of the innovation process for many Fortune 500 organizations. 

Prior to this, Jan was a Director at the Founder Institute; the world’s largest mentoring program for early stage entrepreneurs, launching more than 1,000 companies per year with a 72% survival rate – considerably higher than  the 10% industry average. Jan has experienced first-hand how belief in intrapreneurship could unlock huge value for organizations – he unlocked USD 1 billion for Intel as an intrapreneur. 

Jan – born in Germany and brought up in the UK – has lived and worked in Silicon Valley, Vienna, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Munich. He can be found on stage at intrapreneurship or innovation conferences or down in the trenches with corporate start-up teams, testing and validating critical assumptions. Jan also runs an investment fund focused on start-ups and crypto currencies.

Our Founder

Jan Kennedy is an expert in intrapreneurship program design. As CEO at the Academy for Corporate Entrepreneurship (AfCE), he oversees the design and implementation of various intrapreneurship programs covering different stages of the innovation process for many Fortune 500 organizations. 

Prior to this, Jan was a Director at the Founder Institute; the world’s largest mentoring program for early stage entrepreneurs, launching more than 1,000 companies per year with a 72% survival rate – considerably higher than  the 10% industry average. Jan has experienced first-hand how belief in intrapreneurship could unlock huge value for organizations – he unlocked USD 1 billion for Intel as an intrapreneur. 

Jan – born in Germany and brought up in the UK – has lived and worked in Silicon Valley, Vienna, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Munich. He can be found on stage at intrapreneurship or innovation conferences or down in the trenches with corporate start-up teams, testing and validating critical assumptions. Jan also runs an investment fund focused on start-ups and crypto currencies.

Meet our Mentors

Our world-class mentors (our unfair advantage) have proven entrepreneurial track records so have “been there done that” and are not afraid to show corporate start-up teams tough love in order to transfer the entrepreneurial mindset and skills to develop intrapreneurs. AfCE mentors speak 3 languages on average and have created over 35 Billion Dollars worth of innovation projects. They’ve also founded 2.2 startups each and average an age of 42 with magnitudes of industry experience to share.

Dan Toma

Location: Stuttgart, Germany
Speaks: English, Romanian
Specialty: Lean Start-up
Fact: Just co-authored and published “The Corporate Start-up” book.

After founding and exiting a few companies, Dan wrote what was probably the first academic piece about ‘lean start-up’ (completed the same time Eric Ries published his book) and has worked as an Innovation and Product Manager at Deutsche Telekom where he streamlined innovation processes using agile methods. Dan regularly speaks at conferences about innovation and how leadership within companies can foster and measure more of the right kind of innovation activity.

Recently, Dan has been implementing Accelerator structures for the Vietnamese and Finnish Governments. He has been a big supporter and contributor to AfCE from the beginning.

Urs Rothmayr

Location: Barcelona
Speaks: German, English, Spanish
Specialty: Entrepreneurial mindset
Fact: Brought the Founder Institute to Barcelona and coaches other European chapter directors

Urs helps companies adopt an entrepreneurial and digital mindset within their organisation. He also shows them how to transform startups into engines of corporate innovation.

In the past he set up, managed and made profitable the jobpilot startup branch in Spain, before it was sold for 73M € to Adecco. Afterwards, as Digital Business Manager at RACC Automobile Club, he first made profitable their mobility startup portal, before he converted it into a service portal for their more than 1,2M club members.

He is very passionate about entrepreneurship and lean startup, has set-up and invested in several startups and brought the Founder Institute, the leading business accelerator, from the Silicon Valley to Barcelona. He furthermore started a social initiative called “Barcelona loves entrepreneurs”, with the goal to attract international talent and investors to Barcelona.

Oriol Bes

Location: Barcelona
Speaks: Spanish, English, Catalan, Italian
Specialty: Corporations working with startups
Fact: Started Founder Institute in Barcelona

Oriol helps corporations find, select and implement innovation opportunities within startups and new technologies. From optimizing a process, to new business models and digital transformation. He has recently been involved in developing the Food Tech sector in Spain.

He also helps entrepreneurs to work with corporations bridging the gap between different mindsets. He has a background in engineering and IT but devoted most of his career to business development, marketing and strategy.

Oriol is a Program Director as well as a mentor for AfCE and especially likes to work with Spanish speaking teams. He is also a long-standing Director at the Founder Institute, the world’s largest startup launch program.

Andrea Schmitt

Location: Frankfurt
Speaks: German, English
Specialty: Business Models
Fact: Worked for Deutsche Telekom for 14 years

Andrea is a certified business model canvas trainer by Strategyzer Academy and professional for Design Thinking, Lean Startup and Agile Working. She leads teams to product and business model innovation, and towards a company culture, which fosters innovation.

She has a background in electrical engineering and business economics. Paired with her experience in senior positions in the telecoms and Internet service industry, she has acquired a sound knowledge in technology and economics. Her recent focus has been in a coaching and training role, where she has guided more than 250 team members and executives in agile, design thinking, lean startup and business model design techniques.

Andrea believes in an interactive face-to-face coaching, where she helps teams to reduce business risks, while navigating through uncertain terrain of innovation.

Caroline Slootweg

Location: Amsterdam
Speaks: English, Dutch
Specialty: Marketing and Customer Experience
Fact: Was at Mark Zuckerberg’ first ever client dinner. We were with the 6 of us

Caroline is a Dutch / American recently relocated to Amsterdam from Singapore and has resided and worked in New York, London and Bangkok. Caroline is currently CMO/CXO and Director Client Strategy for a tech start-up specialising in retention and loyalty marketing.

Caroline has been working in and around (digital) marketing strategy her whole career. She was Unilever’s first ever global head of digital marketing and new media where she helped some of the world’s biggest brands (Knorr, Dove, Becel, Lux, Ponds) make sense of the digital space. Later she became Director for Global Communication Planning in London and in Bangkok/Singapore before taking a career break to sail around the world. Caroline also worked at WPP and JWT (the largest communication holding company and largest agency in the world). In her free time she’s been mentoring startups and launching her own startup ventures. With AfCE Caroline has been leading teams through sales and marketing topics as well as the incubation stage.

Sara Leth

Location: Copenhagen
Speaks: Danish, English, Spanish
Specialty: Everything Lean
Fact: Coaches with Seth Godin’s Leadership Course, the altMBA

Sara is an innovation and leadership coach. After having failed a yoga app startup and tested the waters at McKinsey & Co, she joined the Startupbootcamp and Rainmaking group and spun out Rainmaking Innovation, helping corporates and governments tackle their innovation efforts. Working out of London, Sara led the design and delivery of both internal and external innovation programs for corporate clients such as Lloyds, Allianz and more. As a Lean startup coach, she delivered workshops to the startups in the Startupbootcamp accelerator.

She has coached at accelerators, incubators and government programs such as Startupbootcamp Fintech and Insurtech in London, Imperial College’s VCC accelerator, BLOXHUB in Copenhagen, Startup MENA and European Commission.

She also coaches with Seth Godin’s altMBA, an intensive leadership course for high-performing individuals.

Boris Grinkot

Location: New York
Speaks: English, Russian

Boris helps enterprises succeed faster by turning visionary innovation ideas into human-centered, evidence-driven strategy and execution.

With a unique combination of creative and quantitative experience, he has brought customer centricity, discovery mindset, and outcome-focused organizational alignment to large enterprises in North America and Europe including Johnson & Johnson, Bank of America, and Humana.

In addition to consulting and speaking, Boris teaches in the Strategic Design and Management graduate program at the Parsons School of Design. He authored and contributed to industry publications on digital messaging, user experience design, and management of experiments. He also has mentored hundreds of startups through public workshops and accelerators like Google Developers Launchpad.

Trisha Rassatt

Location: London
Speaks: English
Specialty: Cust Dev. & Marketing
Fact: One of the first Intuit employees to go through the Innovation Catalyst program in 2009 and led the eventual expansion to the UK and France

Trisha is a certified Innovation Catalyst and Lean Start-up Coach at Intuit, one of the world’s most innovative organisations which produces leading Fintech cloud software such as QuickBooks and TurboTax.  Intuit is located in the heart of Silicon Valley and known as the ‘30 year old startup’ for its focus on innovation. She allocates 10% of her time coaching internal teams across multiple functions and regions through Intuit’s world famous Lean StartIN program. The program was featured in Eric Ries’ book, The Lean Startup.

As a Senior Marketing Manager based in the London office, Trisha leads a team responsible for acquiring accountant firms onto the QuickBooks platform and motivating them to refer all of their small business clients onto QuickBooks.  She looks after above-the-line advertising, promotions, product marketing and loyalty program. She enjoys using the AfCE curriculum to help teams with either their first 3 weeks or marketing related challenges.

Claudia Bacco

Location: Munich
Speaks: English
Specialty: Marketing – Messaging, positioning and differentiation

Claudia has a wealth of corporate marketing, branding & positioning experience within technology companies such as Verizon, Juniper Networks and Nokia. She is a loved start-up at the Founder Institute and Telefonica’s incubator Wayra.

Having spent her career working with tech companies globally she is quick to get to the point of helping organizations determine who they are, how they can be different and the best way to get that information across in their marketing materials.  Having been on both the development side – corporate and the receiving side – editor and industry analysts, this helps to refine what topics will get you noticed.

Currently she leads the marketing organization for a communications company with a focus on security and safety-critical applications.

Chris Autry

Location: London
Speaks: English, French, Dutch
Specialty: Investor Pitching
Fact: Built and sold his first startup for $63M

Chris is currently the CEO of Iothic, an Oxford University joint venture, focussed on cybersecurity in large enterprise IoT systems. He has built and sold 3 startups over a career spanning more than 20 years and has won several awards for innovation in technology. He has worked in over 50 countries, and lived in 7, and has in-depth knowledge of the Asian, European and North American markets. He is keen on technology and business in Asia and has lived both Kobe Japan and Sydney Australia for many years. Prior to assuming his role as CEO of Iothic, Chris worked with various VC and PE funds in the EU, Asia and the US on due diligence and the assessment of innovative technologies for investment purposes. He is also a BCG (Boston Consulting Group) alum.

Chris is a UK citizen and grew up in the US and France and currently lives in central London. He is passionate about getting involved in the early discovery & incubation stages of AfCE projects from a financial and logistics standpoint. While he believes (disruptive) technology is crucial, he also believes that the right framework, team and market understanding, make or break the success of a company. He likes to focus on what really matters–getting your idea funded, off the ground and successfully up and running.

Stephan Klaschka

Location: New York
Speaks: English, German
Specialty: Healthcare & Pharma
Fact: Established School for Intrapreneurs within Boehringer Ingelheim

Stephan recently served as CEO of the German Institute for Telemedicine and Health Promotion (DITG), and was previously Director, Global Innovation Management and Strategy at Boehringer Ingelheim, responsible for developing and executing the corporate innovation agenda to drive growth.

As part of broader agenda, key growth initiatives include maturing capabilities in areas of Digital Health (clinical and commercial applications), Co-creation through Customer Collaborations, Open Innovation, and Patient as Consumer.

Within Boehringer Ingelheim Stephan also collaborated with Gifford Pinchot (who coined “intrapreneurship” to set up a “School for Intrapreneurs”. As a result, he is extremely passionate about helping corporates to benefit from the AfCE program.

Nick Norena

Location: San Francisco
Speaks: English
Specialty: Product Features

Nick brings some Silicon Valley flair to AfCE. He works with startups, product teams, large organizations, and governments helping them design and implement innovation programs according to Lean Start-up principles. He specializes in teaching Lean Startup techniques, especially to early stage companies, focusing on methodologies like Customer Discovery Interviews, Rapid Prototyping, and Channel Discovery for Marketing.

Lassi Kurkijärvi

Location: Helsinki
Speaks: English, Finish
Specialty: Lean Product Features
Fact: Manages 192 product development staff and previously founded and sold a vet related business

At the SanomaLab, Lassi was responsible for putting innovation into everyone’s job title. He was tasked to create new business lines for Sanoma using intrapreneurship and lean innovation as its main tools. In addition to launching new internal ventures, the SanomaLab educated over a thousand Sanoma employees in new ways of business development through the Sanoma Accelerator programs.

Now Lassi enables a 192 strong new product development team at Solita, Finland’s largest digital services company with EUR 85 million in revenues. Agile methods, smart strategies and inspirational leadership are his keys to success. A specialist in project management, all things digital & service innovation, Lassi also understands the dynamics of online communities, professional and user-created content, and has strong experience in motivating teams to work towards a common goal.

Jorge Fernandes

Location: Zurich and Munich
Speaks: English, Portuguese, Spanish, French
Specialty: Innovation Strategy & Deployment
Fact: Intrapreneur turned entrepreneur

After 15y+ of experience in the Food and Nutrition industry, working for large innovators like Royal DSM, Nestlé and Kraft Foods (now Mondelez), Jorge decided to focus on his passion and build an inclusive and sustainable foodtech business.

Prior to stepping out of corporate life, Jorge was driving the Corporate Entrepreneurship and other Innovation Excellence next practices at Royal DSM, that were enabling it to further boost its innovation performance.

Jorge has a biotech / microbiology background coupled with a MBA and has leveraged both to build bridges between technology development and their market introduction throughout his career.

Andy Cars

Location: Stockholm
Speaks: English, Swedish, German
Specialty: Innovation Strategy & Lean Startup
Fact: Has founded four companies and sold three

Andy Cars is the founder of Lean Ventures and a serial entrepreneur turned advisor.

Andy works with established companies to build their innovation capabilities. Focus is on innovation strategy, lean startup, business modeling and creating strong connections with the startup community.

By drawing on the experience from working with hundreds of startup teams on lean startup, business modeling, go-to-market strategy and fundraising, Andy provides unique insights into what it takes to successfully innovate.

Andy has also been involved in designing startup accelerator programs and advising on how to create and grow startup ecosystems both locally and internationally.

Adam Berk

Location: New York
Speaks: English
Specialty: Customer Development
Fact: Is funding startups at $1,000,000 valuation if they submit 100 customer interviews within 50 days 

Adam is a lean entrepreneur, lean teacher, and Serial Entrepreneur. He is one of the more intrepid experimenters. He was until recently an Implementation Coach at Pearson and Entrepreneur-In-Residence at The Entrepreneurial Science Foundation.

In the past, he has founded or cofounded Neighborrow, Fotogether, and the MilValChal, which funds all startups at a $1,000,000 valuation if they conduct + submit 100 customer interviews within 50 days and use the funding to test a hypothesis (or multiple hypotheses). He holds a BA in Economics from Emory University. With AfCE, Adam loves to get teams off to a flying start and push them hard to learn the context around who their customer is and what problems their customers have.

Oliver Durrer

Location: Zürich & San Diego
Speaks: English, German, French, Spanish, Italian
Specialty: Strategy, Intrapreneurship, Growth
Fact: Growth-hacked Nestlé’s Nescafé Dolce Gusto Business and co-launched Nestlé Myanmar Ltd.

A Swiss (corporate) entrepreneur, innovation coach and business mentor, Oliver is passionate about enabling large companies and startups/SMEs to:

  • find and use their “why” to inspire and engage their teams
  • be more entrepreneurial and innovative, effective and efficient
  • sustainably scale their ventures, accelerating growth
  • create shared-value with purpose and impact

Oliver enjoyed a corporate career in marketing, commercial and business leadership positions, acting as an intrapreneur within Nestlé in Switzerland and Asia, building and leading multicultural teams to award-winning performance. He also acted as a non executive director of a Swiss high-tech startup for traffic security. Oliver is an early supporter of the AfCE.

A lean startup enthusiast and life-long learner, Oliver is currently scaling Online Academy, after launching this corporate startup for blended online learning at Migros Club School – Switzerland’s biggest further education institution – in 2016. Oliver is also a member of the board of directors at the food-tech startup DigiMeals and an angel investor in several tech startups.

Benson Garner

Location: Arizona
Speaks: English
Specialty: Strategy, Business Models
Fact: Created curriculum w/ Alexander Osterwalder

Benson is a strategist, innovator, and entrepreneur. Aside from his other business ventures and consulting he also worked closely with Alexander Osterwalder and his team at Strategyzer for several years. He produced numerous pieces of content and was part of the core team that produced their second book, Value Proposition Design.

Benson has traveled the world facilitating Business Model Generation and Lean Startup inside large organizations such as Intel, J&J, Mastercard and Medtronic. His passion for corporate intrapreneurship as well as traditional entrepreneurship and startups is unrivaled.

Joshua Cohen

Location: New York & Germany
Speaks: English, German, French
Specialty: Innovation Mindset Development
Fact: Started learning German at age 30 and now holds speeches and make television appearances

Joshua Cohen leverages his years of experience as an entrepreneur, investor, and adviser to give large organizations the tools and know-how they need to move and act with speed, agility, and creativity.

Joshua has deep roots in technology-intensive sectors, having founded and built startups in both Europe and the U.S., including Germany-based iPharro, a spinoff of Germany’s world-renowned Fraunhofer Organization, and NYC-based Ganxy. He is the former co-head of US investments for SevenVentures, the venture capital division of one of Germany’s largest media companies.

Through many years of international work and living, he’s developed a deep global network and continues to advise startups and companies all over the world. He is as an adjunct professor at the European School of Management and Technology. Joshua is a graduate of Princeton University with an MBA from NYU’s Stern School of Business and additional studies at the University of Cologne.

Gui Sarkis

Location: Florianópolis, Brazil
Speaks: Portuguese, English, Spanish
Specialty: Creativity, Design Thinking, HCD
Fact:  Has cycled and camped in the Atacama Desert, Iguazu Falls and Cabo Polonio

Gui is an educator and entrepreneur who believes in the power of creativity, collaboration and entrepreneurship to change the people who can change the world.

He facilitates educational journeys harnessing several tools and techniques within frameworks such as Creative Problem-Solving, Design Thinking, Outdoor Leadership Education and Polarity Management. As a mentor, Gui has worked with large corporations and small teams of entrepreneurs in the design and implementation of innovation programs, creative leadership and entrepreneurial educational. He was the coordinator and helped develop Social Good Brasil Lab, a program that supports the development of startups that tackle major social problems through the use of technology, digital media and innovative thinking, that supported over 300 social entrepreneurs in Brazil.

Gui has founded several startups such as Global Sapiens, that works in the field of educational travel and aims at facilitating the learning of empathy as a universal language.

Bjorn Uhss

Location: Berlin
Speaks: English, German, Spanish
Specialty: Validation, Digital Marketing
Fact: One of the first people to be coached by Eric Ries (author The Lean Startup) at Intuit

Bjorn is a certified Innovation Catalyst and Lean Start-up Coach from within Intuit, one of the world’s most innovative organisations which produces leading Fintech cloud software and shares their campus with Google. He was hired by Intuit due to his entrepreneurial background in order to work as part of a small agile sprint scout team to launch QuickBooks Online in 150+ countries following the Lean Startup approach, quickly testing market traction and adapting the solution to local market needs. During this time his team was coached by Eric Ries and was later based in Singapore & Australia as Global Social Media Manager. He has leveraged various online & social media strategies to help Intuit expand its global footprint as Senior Marketing Manager.

Since, Bjorn has become a serial entrepreneur founding his own digital agency and other online businesses. Bjorn is a lead mentor at AfCE having mentored teams in Asia, Europe and the US, always getting his hands dirty with experiment design and pushing prototypes forward. He’s no stranger to corporate startup teams with a Healthcare or Insurance background.

Mikkel Sorensen

Location: San Francisco
Speaks: English, Danish
Specialty: Hardware & IoT

Corporate intrapreneur connecting shipping containers, pumps and soon the rest of the world to the Internet of Things since 2007.

Driven by being on the leading edge of development, steep learning curves, disrupting the status quo and solving massive challenges in teams or individually.

Specialties: Corporate intrapreneurialism, asking why, customer based business development, business case development, innovation, drive, project management, networking, business development, technology, IT, creative problem solving, critical thinking, communication, stakeholder management, procurement, alternative power sources, international politics, investment finance, shipping, containers.

Narjeet Soni

Location: Berlin
Speaks: English
Specialty: Product Development

A serial entrepreneur with his latest start-up valued at Eur 1.5 mil within 2 years. He has also held innovation roles at Infosys and helped corporates with prototyping and product development.

Meet the Core Team

Click on the images below to find out more.

Jan Kennedy

CEO & Founder

Malisse Tan

Chief Strategy Officer

Maria Isabel Becerra-Noll

Finance Manager

Merlijn Knol

Project Manager

Wen Xin Seow

Project Manager

Aernout van Heusden

Business Development Director

Narjeet Soni

Head of Product Development

Fred Moreira

Director

Gui Sarkis

Director

Tiffany Lastrucci

Designer

Meet the Core Team

Click on the images below to find out more.

Jan Kennedy

CEO & Founder

Malisse Tan

Chief Strategy Officer

Maria Isabel Becerra-Noll

Finance Manager

Wen Xin Seow

Project Manager

Merlijn Knol

Project Manager

Aernout van Heusden

Business Development Director

Narjeet Soni

Head of Product Development

Gui Sarkis

Director

Fred Moreira

Director

Tiffany Lastrucci

Designer