A while ago, I went to the Construkt Festival, which, for aspiring entrepreneurs, is the calendar event of the year. For smug gits like me who enjoy a spot of people-watching, the networking bits are an absolute treat. Frenzied conversations that graduate from small talk to business pitch in under ten seconds, everyone breaking out the arsenal of buzzwords theya��ve been waiting to use and my personal favourite: the exchange of business cards. I cana��t be the only one who finds the manner of this networking ritual oddly fascinating: the delicate two-handed submission of the business card, accompanied by a slight, but deferential, forward-body tilt. Always whips up the image of an obsequious squire daintily holding out medieval Englanda��s tiniest tea tray for his omnipotent Liege-Lord.
More seriously though, full props to the good folks who put Construkt together; it really was the ultimate treasure trove of resources for anyone whoa��s serious about starting-up. I was at a great session on how start-ups can engage with big business and fundamentally, it raised a fair question: why would Fortune 500 companies want to work with wet-behind-the-ears start-ups?
Speaking at Kyrona��s office, angel investor and veteran entrepreneur from the Silicon Valley trenches Venkat Raju pointed out that for the most part, top companies inevitably hit a wall with innovation, courtesy layers of quasi-bureaucratic middle management. Ita��s then that they look outside for fresh perspective; nimble innovators who have the creativity, expertise and can pivot their products to specific needs, but are looking for a foot in the door.
This is where a corporate accelerator, like Kyron, comes in. As opposed to an incubator, the accelerator isna��t creating new start-ups; it takes viable, but fledgling start-ups and guides them to the market. The accelerator identifies the big playersa�� specific wishlists and scouts for budding talent to fill those gaps. It really is, as Mr Raju puts it, a�?matchmaking from both sides of the fencea�?.
Apart from just the funding or prospects of acquisition, the real takeaway from accelerator programmes, I gathered, is the inside knowledge of what companies want fixed, so start-ups can develop a more tunnel-vision problem-solving approach. Kyron picks up promising newbies for its invaluable 16-week accelerator programme. And just two years in, Kyron already has success stories like the recent Yahoo acquisition, Bookpad, on its portfolio. So if you think your start-upa��s ideas are as disruptive as Mr Kejriwal on the warpath, the corporate accelerator is the next step forward.