* Por The Bakery London
There are a number of ways in which large companies and brands can work with technology startups, even though the concept of corporate led accelerators has only really taken off in the last few years. And in this context, startup doesn’t necessarily mean a company with two guys and a laptop; it can be anything up to series A/series B business tech businesses with a lot of investment.
Many people who work in the corporate environment don’t always realise, when considering accelerators, that there are multiple types of accelerator models. This means that there are a number of ways in which brands can work with technology companies to hasten innovation.
The first type of accelerator model that corporations use is one based on investment. So ones like Wayra, Nike+, Barclays TechStars and JLab. They get a bunch of really early stage companies (who might well just have a piece of paper and a laptop) and over a 12-week period it is their job to accelerate the companies and help them get further investment from either venture capital companies or other angels. Fundamentally the real goal for this type of accelerator is investment and they are focused primarily on growing the value of the companies in their portfolio.
There is also a different type of accelerator model that is becoming know as a “challenge-led” accelerator. Big companies, who need to do new stuff within their organisation and are looking at the technology ecosystem to speed innovation, use an accelerator that targets their business problem. These tend to be quite big problems, i.e. “How do we communicate better as an organisation?” “How do we engage our customers more in our product?” These accelerators (like the one we have here at The Bakery) match-make businesses to the best tech entrepreneurs, which leads to market trials. It is a very quick, efficient and low-risk process where corporates can meet all of the best tech companies that solve their actual problems, and then ultimately gets solutions to trial before rapidly scaling them.
Although not the same, one is not better than the other, they are very different and achieve different outputs; it’s up to each brand owner to decide which approach is most appropriate depending on what they are looking to achieve!
Alex Dunsdon is Co-founder of The Bakery London and Investment Director at Saatchinvest and Ex Business Development / Strategist in M&C Saatchi Group. Led acquisition of Inside Mobile, now M&C Saatchi Mobile which has grown exponentially from 12 to 130 people globally.