SparkOptimus newsletter: 5 digital frontrunners, 2 new cases, 6 new colleagues and more


We just released our latest newsletter. In this edition we…

… Discuss five digital frontrunners

… Share with you our latest cases Beerwulf and Treatwell

… Welcome six new colleagues

… Proudly share that Managing Partner Alexandra Jankovich is included in this year’s Next Women 100, and

… Tell you about our latest sporting adventures when disrupting the football field

Want to read more of what we’re up to? Check out our latest posts on our blog

Alexandra Jankovich in NextWomen100

Alexandra Jankovich - Managing Partner SparkOptimusAlexandra Jankovich, Managing Partner of SparkOptimus, is listed in the Gold Category of 2017’s edition of NextWomen100. The NextWomen100 is a list of the 100 most successful female entrepreneurs in The Netherlands published by TheNextWomen – a community of entrepreneurs, professionals and investors who aim to grow the number of female entrepreneurs and the impact they have.

Being selected for this list is a recognition of SparkOptimus’ accomplishments in growing from a start-up just a couple of years ago, to the highly successful company that we are today. Check out the full list here.

Check out more of our latest posts on our blog

Three successful summer masterclasses

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In May and June SparkOptimus organized three masterclasses around the theme “Make disruption work for you”, which each received a score of between 8 and 8.5 out of 10. The Masterclasses once more managed to attract a diverse audience, with managers attending from various industries, ranging from Healthcare to Private Equity, and from FMCG to Transport & Logistics. We even had the board of a company have the remainder of their management team attend a subsequent session to make sure they are all on the same page for the strategic shift they are planning to make.

During the full-day program the participants learned how to deal with digital disruption in general and how to make it specific to their particular business situation. Topics varied from the shapes and forms that disruption can come in and discussions on implications for a company’s own strategy, to talent management and business processes such as marketing and finance. Insights were generated and shared, including discussions about the future role of physical locations in healthcare and ways to convince shareholders to invest in the growth of a (relatively) uncertain disruptive business model. The diversity of the audience made for very lively and interactive sessions, which were continued during the informal drinks afterwards. The Masterclasses are taking a break for the summer… but we’ll keep you posted about potential future editions!

Interested in how SparkOptimus supports companies across industries to win in the Digital Age? Read our cases

Digital Frontrunners of 2017

Five digital frontrunners show five ways to successfully shape your company in the digital age…


… From online to omnichannel

The Netherlands’ largest bike store,, opened 7 stores last year and will open another 30 this year to complement its successful web shop. Although it might sound like a paradox, it is by growing its offline footprint that the bike specialist aims to double its 2017 sales to €85MM. However, a closer look shows the logic behind this move. Most of Fietsenwinkel’s growth has to come from electric bikes, quickly growing in popularity and with an average price double that of regular bikes. Fietsenwinkel aims to service prospective e-bike buyers by offering the full omnichannel package: easy orientation online with a comprehensive buying guide, a hotline for personal advice from e-bike specialists, and a test circuit at its stores for the real feel. This makes Fietsenwinkel exemplary of today’s omnichannel players: its web shop functions as core sales channel and provides valuable insights in customer behavior, while its offline stores are service-centers, boosting customer satisfaction and loyalty.


… Understand your customers’ hearts and minds

A mobile-only grocery store with lowest-price guarantee, free delivery above €25, and the flexibility to get your groceries delivered when it suits you – this is Picnic’s customer proposition. Sounds exactly like what you’d want right? This is because Picnic has spent valuable time distilling the customer proposition it believes can trigger mass adoption of online grocery shopping by Dutch consumers (now around 1-2% or total grocery revenue). It understands the hearts and minds of its customers and has built its business model around this. For example, its custom-made supply chain model enables customers to see precisely when delivery will take place and shows the real-time location of its electric minivans in the app. It’s like ordering an Uber. With a recent investment of €100MM (one of the largest ‘Series B’ investments ever), we expect to see rapid growth for Picnic and changes in the Dutch grocery market.


… Winner takes all

It is Dutch payment provider Adyen that enables effortless online payments with companies like Uber, Airbnb, Netflix, Spotify, and easyJet. By offering more than 250 local payment methods to online shoppers, Adyen removes friction in the customer journey while simultaneously improving its clients’ conversion. It is both size and innovation that drive its success in this winner-takes-all market: by offering the largest number of payment methods and the smoothest experience against the lowest price (due to scale), Adyen manages to handle mind-boggling transaction volumes.  In 2016, its transaction volume grew to €82 billion, almost doubling compared to the previous year. With enough cash on hand for further investment in innovation, a continuous expansion of its services (such as Point-of-Sale devices, new omnichannel payment methods, and in-app payments), and a steady growth in global market share (last year, Adyen extended its portfolio of customers with Microsoft, Sephora, Symantec and WeWork), the future remains bright for ‘our own’ Dutch unicorn.


… From struggling traditional retailer to omnichannel high potential

Golden oldie and national pride HEMA has earned a spot in this list of Digital Frontrunners by showing that hard work pays off and omnichannel success is within reach for traditional players as much as it is for young startups. The international retailer has invested heavily over the last years and has persisted in its omnichannel transformation. Now, it is starting to reap the first benefits, with 21% growth in e-commerce sales in 2016 compared to 2015. Moreover, HEMA’s newly launched omnichannel loyalty program proved a big success with 1.8 million users registered in the first months. For the coming years, HEMA will focus its efforts on personalizing the omnichannel shopping experience, which should help reach its overall goal of 15% online sales within 2 years.


… Niche is nice

Catawiki may not (yet) be the most well-known Dutch firm, but it is the fastest-growing one. The online auctioneer takes 13th place in the Financial Times 1000, the list of fastest growing European companies – the highest Dutch position. Founded in 2008, Catawiki experienced steep growth, resulting in 500 employees today, of which 190 specialized auctioneers. What sets the firm from Assen apart from competitors like EBay and Marktplaats, and explains its success, is its focus on its core user base: collectors. On the site, collectors can easily manage their portfolio, keep track of missing pieces in their collection, and exchange tips & tricks with other collectors on Catawiki’s extensive user fora. For the coming year, expectations for Catawiki are high due to its highly scalable business model (due to the network effect of the growing number of collectors connected on its platform) and its clear international ambition. 2017 will no doubt bring a ramp-up in Catawiki’s international expansion after an impressive 2016 round of investment of €75MM.

Interested in how SparkOptimus supports companies across industries to win in the Digital Age? Read our cases

SparkOptimus disrupts… the football field!

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Written by Thijmen Kaster

This year was the first time SparkOptimus joined the annual football Consultancy Cup between strategy consulting firms in The Netherlands – and we immediately proved that we’re fierce competition. Under Jonathan’s leadership the team – which also plays in the Amsterdam Powerleague every week – finalized their preparations during their tactical meeting during the Friday lunch. The fans at the office were even better prepared and brought a hand-crafted banner saying: “SparkOptimus: Disrupting the playing field.” On the night of the Cup the team was supported by a great number of Sparkies, with Alexandra leading the fanclub.

The first match against McKinsey was immediately the one with the highest stakes in the game, as it was a re-encounter with a former employer for some Sparkies. After a rough start SparkOptimus managed to secure the victory with two goals, one of them from a particularly beautiful free-kick. The second match against Bain was decided quickly, although the goalkeeper’s skills were tested a couple of times. The third match against BCG was a well-fought and -deserved victory in the burning Amsterdam May sun. After the last game – a tiki-taka run-over that even included header goals against Strategy& – the blue/whites were on top of the league with the full 12 points possible after 4 matches. Next: the semi-finals. This re-match against BCG was a tough one. Both teams decided that with depleted energy levels defending was easier than scoring and this resulted in a physically heavy Mexican standoff lasting the whole match. Penalties had to decide which team was worthy of the final. In this unlucky lottery SparkOptimus unfortunately drew the short straw.

Beers, BBQ and fans awaited in the club house, and we can be proud of our first performance in the football Consultancy Cup: a great way to meet the other strategy offices and above all a fun experience. See you next year!

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consultancy cup - supporters

Sitting in a beanbag will not get you anywhere | Make Disruption Work Masterclass

Last year’s Make Disruption Work Masterclasses were graded on average with an 8/10. To accommodate all applicants, we have scheduled several more programs in Q2 and Q3 of 2017 – please apply now under – there are still some spots left!

 FB_mobile_ENG_470_246The Make Disruption Work Masterclass is based on an original multi-day program for C-level executives. SparkOptimus developed a one-day Masterclass for ambitious senior executives to help them take on a role as digital change leader in their organization.

During this Masterclass, participants will zoom in on the strategies of successful online pure players, the disruptive potential of new technologies, the characteristics of disruptive organizations, and the principles to drive digital transformation. To make the Masterclasses actionable, attendees work on a vision and personal action plan to help their organizations take advantage of digital disruption. The Masterclasses are concluded with drinks to further exchange ideas and build a network.

Interested in unlocking digital growth for your own organization? Register now on or contact Tan Peters for further information at 020 305 9000 or


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SparkOptimus voted Nr. 1 digital strategy consultancy


SparkOptimus is ranked number 1 in the category E-business consultants of Emerce100  for the second year in a  row. The Emerce ranking is  based on a rating by almost 1000 digital experts and decision makers over last year’s performance of e-business service suppliers. Other companies listed in the same category include Boston Consulting Group, McKinsey and Ernst & Young.

Read more about the Emerce 2017 ranking (in Dutch)
Read the article “digital transformation powerhouse” (in Dutch) with Managing partners Alexandra Jankovich and Tom Voskes

Top 12 listing Emerce 100 2017

Lunch & Learn: Snapchat and Instagram

SparkOptimus Snapchat vs. Instagram

Snapchat & Instagram are currently among the fastest growing social networks. The platforms attract a younger audience compared to Facebook and Twitter and have a strong focus on visual content.

As such, these platforms offer a great opportunity for companies to increase awareness and engagement. However, only a limited number of companies are utilizing these platforms in their marketing plans.

To gain a better understanding of the endless marketing possibilities for companies on these platforms two of our colleagues, Britt Fellinger and Marijke van Ark, gave a Lunch & Learn presentation to the whole SparkOptimus team.

Will you join us for our next Lunch & Learn?

Shopping Tomorrow Bluepaper: Direct Brands

Shopping Tomorrow

An increasing number of brands is launching Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) channels, bypassing the traditional value chain. As chair of the expert committee of Shopping Tomorrow on Direct Brands, SparkOptimus published a bluepaper focusing on the three elements that are essential for rolling out a DTC operation: a solid consumer proposition; relevant capabilities within the organization; and a technology set-up that supports the business. Interested? You can download the bluepaper here.

SparkOptimus News Highlights – 2017: The year of smart assistants and the relational economy?

smart_home_controlWritten by Emilie Blauwhoff

No better tech way to kick off the New Year than with the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) happening this week in Las Vegas. The yearly event is characterized by an abundance of Internet of Things products: “Think of any product you can, and then make it smart”, that’s what you will find at this year’s CES. Especially ‘CES Unveiled’ is an exciting part of the event, where thousands of new gadgets and whacky products are presented, ranging from smart home, to smart fitness, to smart beauty, and more.

With all these smart devices emerging, it is no miracle that smart assistants are taking center stage as well, e.g., with the unveiling of LG’s Hub Robot. What is intriguing to see is that smart assistants are now becoming the linchpin of Internet of Things because they function as the operating systems of our homes. Very much like Microsoft dominated the PC world for decades, Amazon Alexa is starting to pop up in products of numerous different brands. LG, for example, has announced a fridge that is powered by Alexa, and Lenovo introduced their first smart speaker with Alexa built in – similar to Amazon Echo, with which Amazon originally launched Alexa.

Since incumbents succumb to newcomers’ operating systems, does this mean that 2017 is going to be the year where digital definitely turns the tide and brings us another step closer to a fully relational economy? 2016 already saw Netflix beating all traditional media providers by airing the most popular TV show of the year – Orange is the New Black. And while IBM’s Deep Blue has beat Grand Master Garry Kasparov at a game of chess in 1997, it was deemed impossible to beat a reigning champion in the board game Go, Google’s AI system AlphaGo did exactly that one year ago (it recently also won 60 games (while losing zero) of Go on Chinese online board-game platforms). And for whoever thinks digital only serves millennials, think twice: this smart cane is especially designed to support the elderly.

Check out more of our latest posts on our blog