Intrapreneur portrait

Meet Tom Romanowski

Company: APG
Function: Digital Innovation
Age: 38
Dream: executive fintech job in Asia
Guilty pleasure: Padel tennis

Through his experience, Tom has managed several digital brands, as well as designed an AI fintech startup Kandoor.nl. Currently responsible for APG's digital platform and innovation strategy.

Impact as an intrapreneur

‘Social’ fintech startup Kandoor.nl grew in the innovation garden of APG, the largest pension provider in the Netherlands. Focusing on the scenario that more and more people want and have to make difficult to make financial choices completely on their own, APG wanted to provide accessible guidance. Kandoor now blossoms as the first platform for free financial information, by connecting financial professionals (volunteers) with consumers and using a chatbot that utilizes machine learning.

Challenges as an intrapreneur

One of the main challenges Tom encountered, was to continuously prove the added business value. At the same time, Tom had to deal with many stakeholders, which made the innovation process quite complex. Especially while working on a social innovation, you have to create a certain belief around the idea. People around you will be cynical about innovation. Accept this. In their eyes, they are doing the hard work and you are playing in an innovation lab with undoubtedly no revenues to show yet. Perseverance is key when you want to reach your product market fit.

“A sound business model is a good start for your corporate startup. Additionally, you need to inspire the senior management and find the strategic fit”.

Tips to intrapreneurs (to be)

Most important lessons

There are quite some lessons to draw from bringing Kandoor to the market. One of the main takeaways is to connect your innovation project to the strategy of the company. Furthermore, it is important to create a clear governance and decision making process. Because your innovation needs to be supported throughout different management layers align interests around your innovation project. Create a team of both internal and external team members in order to tap into the best talent and up to date information.

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