02. Discovery

Corporate Start-up Accelerator

An accelerator that cuts through the “innovation fluff” to achieve problem-solution fit.

Start off with a Kick Off.

Immerse in a 2-day workshop which gets corporate start-up teams testing critical assumptions around innovative ideas. Each team is guided by their personal AfCE mentor throughout the 2 days to ensure the correct assumptions and customers are identified and the best experiments are conducted.

The Curriculum

Define your elevator pitch
How to identify early adopters
Identify your most critical unknown assumptions
Setting up your experiment
Run interviews with real customers
Complete your 1st experiment loop

Team participants form a strong bond with each other and their mentors, which is the first critical step taken before entering the 12-week Corporate Start-up Accelerator phase.

50 tutorials. 20 assignments. 12 weeks curriculum.

Help intrapreneurs learn what they need to know and apply to their own idea. A tag-team of 2 world-class mentors guide each corporate start-up team to leverage the curriculum and identify assumptions and run experiments with real customers. This includes weekly check-ins as well as continuous support via Slack / Whatsapp. With other AfCE services such as the Prototype Fund and Train the Trainer weaved into the accelerator program, this program paves the way to build a sustainable and scalable innovation ecosystem within your company.

Weeks 1 – 3:
Design thinking


Your work during the next 3 weeks is very much about clarifying your customer, problem and solution to find a good fit between all 3. The tutorials and assignments will help you to explore questions such as: What’s the best way to identify early adopters and segment our customers?

  • What are customer’s pains, gains and jobs to be done?
  • How do we build an end user profile?
  • How do customers solve the problem now and what competitors are out there?
  • How big is the market?

Weeks 4 – 6:
Lean Start-up


Over these 3 weeks you will zoom in on your solution and try to understand exactly which features of the solution are the most important to your customer. Through Pretotyping and Prototyping you will try to gain compelling behavioural evidence that customers would use your solution if you were to build it. You will explore questions such as:

  • Can we solve the customer’s problem?
  • How should we prioritize our features?
  • Can we learn what would satisfy our customers and even make them passionate?

Weeks 7 – 9:
Marketing & Sales


Now you will dive deeper in testing how you can gain awareness and traction, hopefully winning your first “customers” who demonstrate true intent to buy or use your solution (which still may not exist yet):

  • How can we use channels and messaging to convince people to buy / use?
  • Do we have good unit economics for a viable business model?

Weeks 10 – 12:
Business Model + Pitch


The last few weeks are spent on completing your business model and checking if you can validate any critical assumptions that are missing. You will feed all of your learnings into a concise pitch deck ready to ask for funding or justify why the idea should not be funded:

  • Do we have a viable complete business model suitable for our organization?
  • Can we clearly and confidently ask for investment & tell our story?

Transferring Entrepreneurial Skills and Mindset

A brief summary of the Allianz TOP Intrapreneurship Program powered by Academy for Corporate Entrepreneurship.


Our program has seen around 60% of teams achieving problem-solution fit and raising internal investment to continue into an incubation phase. 20% successfully demonstrate why the venture should not receive investment and only 20% fail to reach a conclusive outcome.

The Value

     World-Class Mentors vs Consultants

    Transfer of skills and mindset to intrapreneurs

    Experiment based

    Structured approach creates accountability and monitoring of development

    Be pitch ready by the end of 12 weeks (over 70% success rate)

    Full participant evaluations and certification provided

    Part time next to day job

    Identify the most critical assumptions

    Learn lean experiment design and tracking

    Learn and practice interviewing customers

    Practice data based decision making

    Foster teamwork and culture change

    Cross functional exposure and learning

    Pre Kick Off preparation support

Client Success:

Bayer tested accelerator programs with 8 different agencies (selected from 39 agencies) before settling on AfCE’s approach. The result was due to a high level of expertise in lean start-up for experimentation, as well as ultra-high trust working with AfCE mentors.

Seven newly formed corporate start-up teams flew in to Bayers’ Mexico City Innovation Hub to kick start their innovation projects. The 2 days were lead by AfCE’s CEO and 7 AfCE mentors speaking English and Spanish with their teams, along with opening remarks from Bayer’s South American regional management and the Global Head of Innovation was in attendance for the full two days. Four of the seven teams already invalidated crucial aspects of their idea within their first experiments. Similar Kick Offs have taken place in Berlin, Taipei, Seoul, Leverkusen and Barcelona.

To help further introduce corporate entrepreneurship within Migros (Switzerland’s largest retailer), AfCE was asked to run a mini version of this Kick Off for 70 participants so they could learn the principles behind Lean Start-up. Six Train the Trainer participants from within Migros were leveraged so that only three AfCE mentors were required on site.