Corporate incubators, accelerators and the growing role of InnovationScouts

According to a Nesta report, last year in the UK there were 205 incubators and 163 accelerators, supporting approximately 3,450 and 3,660 UK start-ups. Of these, the number of corporate backed accelerators has grown from 15% to over 51% in just three years, and continues to accelerate.

“We find that corporate-funded programmes are now in the majority, with 51% of programmes receiving finance from this source. Furthermore, this trend for corporate funded accelerators appears to be growing very rapidly. VC funds now account for a small proportion of accelerators.”

The report raises a question around whether corporations are actually realising value from these activities, or caught in a me-too accelerator bubble.

That’s a question, and indeed a potential problem that many businesses in the UK are unable to begin to contemplate. Given that “more than half” of the 163 accelerators are in London and there are currently almost 3000 mid-cap companies in the City, a conservative estimate would indicate that 2,918 (97%) London based companies are not involved in such programmes.

The need for these programmes isn’t evenly distributed across all industries. Technology has lowered the cost of entry in most, even those which have traditionally been more conservative in their adoption of technology. Disruptive innovators are targeting sectors that are both high-reward and with incumbents that are likely to be slow to respond. Industries that fit this bill include transportation, hospitality, retail or construction.

The Nesta report also highlights that the three industries with the lowest representation in accelerators are real-eastate, retail and construction.

Where fits

If you are a company that fits that description, in an industry that is currently undergoing significant technological disruption what are your options?
In another report by the Boston Consulting Group they call out four primary means by which corporations can drive innovation into their businesses.
It is in the area where all four overlap that have set their target. Their aim is to help businesses research, discover and access technological innovations to deliver on their innovation needs in a more focused, targeted fashion.

Their new, bespoke approach to discovering start-ups and technology partners comes at a time when the need to efficiently identify and deliver on technology transformation has never been stronger.

This is a guest article written by Mark Mars, Managing director of Thirty Seven.

Guest Writer
Guest Writer

InnovationScouts encourages industry experts to contribute their thoughts and ideas about how companies can find innovative technologies in today's rapidly evolving market. Get in touch via info [at]

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