12 August 2015: The acceleration space is growing at an incredible rate. The ecosystem has seen the number of formal programmes operating over the past three years rise by 110%, with some 59 programmes supporting more than 1,100 start-ups in 2014 alone. 2012 was by far the busiest year with 22 accelerators set up, which helped position the United Kingdom as Europe’s entrepreneurial heartland.
Such rapid growth in the acceleration space has only been possible with some pretty major players getting involved.
40% of all the start-up programmes in the UK are now privately run, with a third of these receiving backing from public sector organisations. Educational organisations such as Universities and Business Schools make up another 25% and a growing percentage are run by large corporate enterprises. In fact, companies like Telefónica, John Lewis, Barclays and Distill Ventures (Diageo) now account for 12% of all accelerators in the UK, with this number increasing.
This was realised at the beginning of last week when Qudini, a Wayra alumni, become the main supplier of queue management services to the Telefonica Group, which includes commercial brands such as O2, Movistar and Vevo. The virtual waiting list and reservation app, which is already in use across O2’s 270 stores in the United Kingdom, will be rolled out in the restyling of the Movistar stores in Spain, before launching in Latin America.
Qudini joins the likes of RotaGeek, LivingIndie and Eventstag in securing contracts with large corporates and this is thanks largely to the dedicated in-house Corporate Business Development team, headed up by Abby Barton, whose main responsibility is to find product market fit with Telefonica’s brands across the world.
We wrote a blog last month on the overall impact of this team has had on acceleration, so we thought we’d follow this up with some insights into what benefits befall those who opt for a corporate accelerator and this is what we came up with:
1. Network is King!
Having an insider into a large corporate can open doors to senior decision makers not normally accessed by startups. Because of Wayra, we’ve had start-ups like RotaGeek, Qudini, LivingIndie and Eventstag roll out their superb digital products and services into Telefonica.
Access to highly skilled professionals to assist along the entrepreneurial journey, skills ranging from UX/UI, marketing, sales, strategy – all at your finger tip for free
3. Cultural insider
Knowing how a corporate wants to be pitched to can make or break getting to that next stage of doing business together
4. Operationally savvy
Each corporate has its idiosyncrasy on how it does business – procurement processes, globally relations with business units etc. Knowing how to navigate through this, and knowing where to short circuit can make or break the relationship between start up and corporate
5. Testing zones
Most corporates will have areas in the business to trial and test products and services – in Telefonica we have several. Leveraging these channels to push through start-ups from the accelerator is a vital source to access a large population with support around the start up
6. The role of facilitator/influencer
It is great to have someone to do the match-making for you within the corporate but the real benefit comes from having a go-between that can mediate between the start-up and corporate culture and also influence within the corporate on your behalf.