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Featured image: Grinding Corporate Innovation at Citi Ventures

Grinding Corporate Innovation at Citi Ventures

Bob Petrie, Director of Innovation

"We are always on the lookout for people that can think like a startup and have experience building companies and products from scratch. So it's a good kind of middle ground of both new and existing."

In this episode, we are joined by the seasoned entrepreneur and innovator Bob Petrie - Director of Innovation at Citi Ventures. With more than 20 years of experience in building new products, launching new businesses, and transforming companies, he is now responsible for running the innovation program at and incubating new businesses within Citi Ventures.

In his role as Director of Innovation, Bob gives us an inside look at Citi’s innovation ecosystem, introduces us to Citi Ventures, and elaborates on the symbiotic interplay of the ventures investing and the incubation arm.

If you want to learn more about how governance affects the pace of innovation, which successful project is hidden behind the alias "Proxymity" or what - according to Bob - significantly differentiates innovation in a startup from innovation at a large company, you've come to the right place!

The episode at a glance:

  • Bob, please introduce yourself (00:00:46)
  • The 3 sentence starters (00:02:04)
  • Innovation in a highly-regulated environment
    • After 18 years in the start-up world - a world without many processes, guard rails, governance, Bob is now responsible for the North American region of the D10X innovation program at Citi - a highly-regulated environment. Why this change? (00:05:40)
    • What does it mean to be responsible for innovation in such an environment? (00:07:31)
    • How is innovation at Citi organized in general, i.e., what programs exist? (00:09:22)
    • How are all these programs governed? Is there someone who oversees everything, or does Citi rather act according to the motto "what works in the market wins the race"?  (00:11:07)
    • Governance and innovation - two opposing concepts? (00:12:17)
  • Citi Ventures:
    • How does Citi Ventures support the business in general, and why does Citi need an internal incubator at all? (00:13:34)
    • How are new employees recruited, and what are the mindsets & capabilities you are looking for? (00:16:25)
    • A brief insight into the journey of Citi Ventures: About its development, growth hacks and building blocks  (00:17:40)
    • What were some of the pitfalls you encountered?  (00:20:50)
    • How are things shrank down to an MVP/ MLP, which is ready to start with in-market testing? (00:22:57)
    • How do you define success at Citi Ventures? And what has been the success so far? (00:26:50)
    • Can you share one or two real-life venture examples from the incubator? (00:30:08)
  • Looking ahead: What’s next for the Citi Ventures? (00:32:23)
  • Bob’s “famous” last words to the startup world (00:33:57)
  • Looking back: Bob’s Innovation Rockstar moment (00:36:04)