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You need to work with #startups as big businesses fail to #innovate.

And the ways that YOU can.

Businesses especially big business are finding it harder to innovate. No matter what their reasons. Businesses and brands are now looking to startups......

Looking outside of themselves.... for innovation.

 

But how does your brand work with a startup?

 

I have been lucky enough to work with lots of different brands. And different projects around supporting startups. As well as lots of tech startups themselves. Be that on projects launching incubators. Or finding sponsorship for accelerators, or creating pieces of multinational digital transformations.

 

As a brand you can do many ways to tap into startups.
  • You can buy them
  • You can support them
  • You can sponsors people who support them
  • You can own them without them knowing
  • You can give them opportunities they wouldn’t normally get
  • You can work with them from the start and even start your own ….
Let’s look at them in more detail… and look at who’s doing what.

A tactic for especially if you are non technology based company. Is you can buy them…

 

Buying a startup.

According to the New York Times, investments by non-technology companies in technology startups grew to $125 billion in 2016, from just $20 billion five years ago.

The Times, citing Bloomberg data, also noted that the number of technology companies sold to non-technology companies in 2016 surpassed intra-industry acquisitions for the first time since the Internet era began.

So people are buying startups. But what else could you do?

 

Supporting startups.

Universities for years have been helping their students start their own businesses. Be that as add-ons to their curriculum with FlyingStart / NCGE. Or with no / little equity or IP interest with projects like Innospace. The first incubator in Manchester – which we helped establish itself in 2007. A decade AGO.

Innospace, still going strong. mentioned in Guardian here. Born out of the NES project which I was lucky enough to be on with Spearfish (my second business.) Innospace has changed forms a few time, been dynamic and is today getting businesses investments too. Which brings us onto…

 

Launching an co working space / incubator.

I was happy to help LAUNCH with their co working space housing an incubator or series of incubators. Based over in Media City, with three key sectors focused on health tech, VR and high end tech. Due to their location and high end facilities. But is LAUNCH the Landing’s innovation.

Or is it more cleverly Peel Properties lead generation marketing strategy for new businesses. Or is it even better their digital transform piece?

 

This is a thought that can leveled at many of the 38 co-working spaces in Manchester. Often owned by property developers. Are they filling old space? Dead space. Creating magnets for their other residents i.e. a group of startups to sell your coffee is always a nice idea. And they will need somewhere to live.

 

Is this huge growth of such spaces real brands working with startups. Or property developers recognizing, before governments do, the change in work culture. And the future of freelancing?

Are these incubators, property plays, under a different name. Creating social and cultural reference points. And brand difference in potentially dead spaces.

 

Or are people entrepreneurial by taking advantage of the big boom in freelancers and startups being formed. So they can benefit from cheaper workspaces for their own creative companies. You could argue councils and cities do the same. With far thinking and planning projects to help whole economic areas like Salfords.

 

It is not likely they are working with the startups i.e. as customer but more as commodities?

But I digress ....

How else can your brand work with a startup?

To harness their innovation in your company?

 

You can sponsor accelerators.
 

Accelerator are places startups go to for months on end to become companies. They are finishing schools for some. And the birth places for others. There are now countless tech accelerators for every time of sector. And rightly so.

 

Often sponsorships are marketing drives for lead generation. For their very hard to reach group and again rightly so. So the pioneering work by firms like KPMG is worth mentioning here.

 

But your actions can be deeper than just badging exercises. VC investors have been launching startup accelerators for years. To add to and filter their own pipelines.

 

Whist the bigger tech brands have been giving away their digital wares for many years. To use sponsorship as brand positioning tools - with partnerships. Which I have been lucky enough to sometime broker or introduce. The more savvy, even built whole accelerators. To future proof their organisations i.e. Cisco who own a building and / an accelerator in Manchester.

 

You could own an accelerator.
 

Brands know that helping an accelerator is good for marketing. But owning a startup innovation generating tool is also good for business.

 

But you don’t have to be an investor. You have to have invest money. The banks know they aren't banks anymore they are tech companies that hold money. Big banks create whole new platforms giving them a pool of talent to persuade and acquire talent from.

 

We have been lucky enough to help a couple before we knew their true intentions. We don't work with them anymore. But we did a cracking job before we found out how they treated startups.

 

On this note, local brands in Manchester are starting to get in on the action too. Several years after we suggested it to them. Manchester technology brand UKFast is creating a 30,000 sq. ft. incubator space for tech startups. At its newly expanded campus, with Tech Manchester managing the community. Maybe again part of it's own digital transformation.

 

And at Great Marketing Works, we have been in lots of communications with non tech brands. Who simply don’t know what to do. As many of their members – and sometimes their share prices. Sensing the future. Their investors are panicking.

 

With the advance of IOT, friction less commerce and the rise of Amazon in retail and manufacturing. And the precarious nature of the moment brand. They need innovation more than anyone.

 

Sometimes we are brought in to inspire those who might run the accelerator. Or to come up with the suggestion for the board. It doesn’t always work. As change needs a LOT of different factors to become established.

One comment from a consultant or one talk from a keynote speaker. That might light a spark in some but it doesn’t always inspire the board fully enough to take action.

 

However, for many companies working with startups is proving more and more successful. Perhaps as a way of claiming RnD or as a tax move? Or with a genuine wise to be innovative. Either way there are a lot of accelerators out there. You might be surprised just how many sectors now own accelerators.

 

Here’s a list of sectors with example accelerators Do you know of anymore?
 

Retailers are owning accelerators creating startup competitions that create their own suppliers.

 

L Marks

L Marks run UK startup accelerators across industry sectors. Encouraging innovation, investing in startups and connecting startups with corporates. John Lewis runs its startup incubator, dubbed Jlab, each year, with the purpose of finding and nurturing talented startups with solutions to the problems that the retail industry is facing.

 

Truestart Accelerator

Truestart give entrepreneurs the tools to accelerate and grow in the retail and consumer space. The Truestart accelerator has the benefit of being a part of the True Capital group. A specialist retail investment fund.

 

Tech brands – probably trying out their new products and ideas on startups as focus groups.
 

Microsoft Accelerator

Microsoft Ventures is a global initiative empowering entrepreneurs around the world. On their journey to build great companies. UK startups can leverage Microsoft’s routes to market and access Microsoft’s customer and partner network.

 

Telecomms brands – looking to diversify their risk portfolio and create future use cases.
 

Wayra

Telefónica's startup accelerator offering a place to work, mentors, business partners, access to reach millions of Telefónica customers. Wayra has now expanded to multiple UK startup accelerators including health and cyber security.

 

Banks realising that they need to own their competition or just giving something back to the communities they take from:
 

Barclays Accelerator powered by Techstars

Run an intensive 13 week programme designed to take a startup business further with a fintech-focus and overflowing with opportunities.

 

Espark powered by Natwest.

Powered by the rocket fuel of NatWest’s action-led approach helping champion the UK’s entrepreneurs by making them credible, backable and investable. I have only heard good things about this accelerator.

 

Agencies using startups and startups getting access to the customers they need.
 

Collider Accelerator

Collider is an accelerator dedicated to marketing and advertising startups. The startups help brands and agencies identify, understand, engage with and sell to their consumers.

 

The Bakery Accelerator

The Bakery bridge the gap between startups and brands. A place where brands and tech companies get new stuff to market together. It’s for brands who want innovation done, not just talked about. It’s a low cost and low risk model that gets tech to trial market. They use startups. It's clever.

 

Fashion brands are doing it too – to tap into new technologies and designs.
 

Fashion brands “have adopted very like-minded incubator or accelerator-like programs for up-and-coming entrepreneurs. Sephora, Kering, ASOS and Kate Spade & Company are just a few examples, and all these programs launched within the past two years.”

 

Nordstrom launched The Lab. To nurture emerging design talents that may not have the infrastructure to work with a national department store chain on their own.

 

Beauty – which is not known - for it’s future thinking technology.
 

L'Oréal partnered with UK-based digital accelerator and incubator Founders Factory on a yearly incubator of its own where five startups receive a joint investments from the two companies in addition to mentorship and help with actually launching products. L'Oreal also invested in Founders Factory itself.

 

Even food manufacturers are doing it to – as they start to loose their marketing brands strongholds.
 

Campbell, the food company best known for its soups, is investing $125 million in a venture fund to help finance food startups, according to the Wall Street Journal.

 

So as you can see – LOTS of different brands and organsations own accelerators.
 

And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

These are the most famous.

I think this going to be one of the BIGGEST trends of the next 5 years.

Brands investing in startups. Especially by owning accelerators so...

 

If you know of anymore. Please comment below.
 

And feel free to add your own experience of being on one. If you have been "lucky" enough to be on a good one.

Businesses especially big business are finding it harder to innovate. No matter what their reasons. Businesses and brands are now looking to startups......

Looking outside of themselves.... for innovation.

But how does your brand work with a startup?

I have been lucky enough to work with lots of different brands. And different projects around supporting startups. As well as lots of tech startups themselves. Be that on projects launching incubators. Or finding sponsorship for accelerators, or creating pieces of multinational digital transformations.

As a brand you can do many ways to tap into startups.
  • You can buy them
  • You can support them
  • You can sponsors people who support them
  • You can own them without them knowing
  • You can give them opportunities they wouldn’t normally get
  • You can work with them from the start and even start your own ….
Let’s look at them in more detail… and look at who’s doing what.

A tactic for especially if you are non technology based company. Is you can buy them…

Buying a startup.

According to the New York Times, investments by non-technology companies in technology startups grew to $125 billion in 2016, from just $20 billion five years ago.

The Times, citing Bloomberg data, also noted that the number of technology companies sold to non-technology companies in 2016 surpassed intra-industry acquisitions for the first time since the Internet era began.

So people are buying startups. But what else could you do?

Supporting startups.

Universities for years have been helping their students start their own businesses. Be that as add-ons to their curriculum with FlyingStart / NCGE. Or with no / little equity or IP interest with projects like Innospace. The first incubator in Manchester – which we helped establish itself in 2007. A decade AGO.

Innospace, still going strong. mentioned in Guardian here. Born out of the NES project which I was lucky enough to be on with Spearfish (my second business.) Innospace has changed forms a few time, been dynamic and is today getting businesses investments too. Which brings us onto…

Launching an co working space / incubator.

I was happy to help LAUNCH with their co working space housing an incubator or series of incubators. Based over in Media City, with three key sectors focused on health tech, VR and high end tech. Due to their location and high end facilities. But is LAUNCH the Landing’s innovation.

Or is it more cleverly Peel Properties lead generation marketing strategy for new businesses. Or is it even better their digital transform piece?

This is a thought that can leveled at many of the 38 co-working spaces in Manchester. Often owned by property developers. Are they filling old space? Dead space. Creating magnets for their other residents i.e. a group of startups to sell your coffee is always a nice idea. And they will need somewhere to live.

Is this huge growth of such spaces real brands working with startups. Or property developers recognizing, before governments do, the change in work culture. And the future of freelancing?

Are these incubators, property plays, under a different name. Creating social and cultural reference points. And brand difference in potentially dead spaces.

Or are people entrepreneurial by taking advantage of the big boom in freelancers and startups being formed. So they can benefit from cheaper workspaces for their own creative companies. You could argue councils and cities do the same. With far thinking and planning projects to help whole economic areas like Salfords.

It is not likely they are working with the startups i.e. as customer but more as commodities?

But I digress ....

How else can your brand work with a startup?

To harness their innovation in your company?

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