ARTTIC joins forces with PNO Consultants creating 400-strong group

03 May 2019 4 min. read

Two of Europe’s larger consultancies in the innovation and grants landscape – Netherlands-headquartered PNO Consultants and France-based ARTTIC – have joined forces, creating a player of around 400 consultants and professionals.

PNO Consultants was founded in 1985 and currently has around 300 employees across a footprint in the Netherlands (eight offices), Belgium (Brussels and Zaventem), France (Paris), Germany (Düsseldorf and Leipzig), Italy (Bologna and Roma), Spain (Barcelona) and the UK (Manchester). The smaller ARTTIC, established in 1987, has a workforce of around 100 staff based in offices in France (Paris and Toulouse), Belgium (Brussels), Germany (Munich and Berlin), the UK (Derby) and Israel (Tel Aviv). 

According to Paolo Salvatore and Annette Ringwald, board members of PNO and ARTTIC respectively, the merger will benefit the operations of both firms, as well as their clients. First, both firms boast a geographical network which is complementary and centred around Western and Southern Europe. 

For PNO, the bolt-on marks a major ramp up in two key European economies where its presence until today was still relatively small: France and Germany. ARTTIC meanwhile is a leading player in its home market of France, and in Germany the firm’s team ranks among a group of front running innovation and grants consultancies. For ARTTIC, the move means it will gain access to an on the ground operation in three new markets.ARTTIC joins forces with PNO Consultants creating 400-strong groupSimilarly, PNO Consultants and ARTTIC will deepen each other’s services and client portfolios; “to the benefit of our clients,” remarked Ringwald. Both companies support clients in the private and public sector with the design and execution of funding programmes for research & innovation, innovation management and compliance services. But while ARTTIC has a particularly strong focus on the high-tech sectors aerospace and security, PNO’s heritage means that it holds a market-leading position in the sectors of life sciences & health and energy, climate & environment.

“Both parties complement each other in expertise and portfolio. We can now serve our clients across sectors even better in realising their innovation ambitions,” explained Salvatore. “The combination further enable us to better meet growing demand.”

Innovation management

The joining of forces comes at a time when innovation has amid a rapidly evolving economic playground and digital-driven disruption become one of the top strategic topics for executives and policy-makers globally. In BCG’s latest study of executives, the firm found that innovation is the second most important factor for an organisation’s future competitiveness, with strong innovators financially outperforming their peers by a substantial margin. 

Against the backdrop, consulting firms specialised in innovation management, such as PNO Consultants and ARTTIC, are seeing demand for their services on the rise. Alongside private sector work, the European Union is playing a major role in driving innovation, with the organ’s flagship Horizon 2020 programme the largest funding scheme the continent has ever seen – nearly €80 billion of funding has been reserved for the period between 2014 and 2020. 

Both PNO Consultants and ARTTIC have experience with engagements under H2020 calls, however, given the sheer size of its scope, Ringwald see synergies in this regard too. “ARTTIC has a strong track record in large-scale projects (nearly 96 H2020 engagements have been completed) and collaborative R&D projects.” PNO Consultants participates as a partner in over 70 innovation projects funded by the European Union, and bundling their capacities will lead to a differentiator for larger, more specialised projects. 

“Being able to take advantage of each other’s knowledge and strengths is very exciting,” said Ringwald, who has been with the firm since the turn of the decade. She added that on top of the economic rationale, the cultural fit between the two firms played an equally important role in ARTTIC’s decision to join PNO. “During our negotiations I noticed a real mutual understanding about our markets, strategy and human capital pillars.” 

“Our goal is to become one of Europe’s top providers of innovation and grants services to corporates, SMEs, industry groups, research institutes and academic organisations, among others. Building on both strong brands, this deal marks a major step forward in our strategy,” concluded Salvatore.