What’s the value for corporates in working with start-ups in an acceleration program?
First of all and most importantly, as a corporate, you get closer to the action and the prospect of meeting with the most disruptive start-ups in the field. This creates opportunities to engage with them at an early stage, which can potentially lead to promising partnership opportunities. The previously mentioned events provided ample opportunities for this, and I am sure we will see a number of collaborations originating from them.
In addition, another tangible advantage is to learn first-hand from the start-up ways of working to create business success out of breakthrough innovations. At Philips Research, we are already reaping the benefits of our collaboration with start-ups in HighTechXL and adopting a start-up way of working in an accelerator program for our internal innovation teams.
Here’s what I consider to be the three most crucial benefits of a start-up acceleration program:
Working alongside other start-ups leads to faster and better insights
Usually, start-ups scale-up alone, without other start-ups. But we found that developing several teams at the same time uncovered valuable insights that we could share across teams. We found the continuous iterations meant we could develop not just the technical innovation for CureMetrix, but the entire business case in just 12 weeks.
External mentors tell it like it is
Sometimes you need an outsider to tell you where you're going wrong, how to fix a problem or even when to give up and move on. During this project, entrepreneurs had access to a group of mentors collectively called the Eindhoven Start-up Alliance, whose members include leaders at ASML and Ernst and Young and Philips. Together, we helped many teams become investor-friendly start-ups primed to secure valuable funding. I think the hard truth can save valuable time and money and encourage teams to move on to bigger and better things.
A dynamic hub is a must
Ideally, you need a dedicated entrepreneurial environment where the high-tech industry can meet and innovate under one roof. HighTechXL has created such a hub on the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven, where it shares the smartest 2km in The Netherlands with more than 140 companies and institutes and some 10,000 researchers, developers and entrepreneurs.