How to launch a successful innovative startup from within a corporate
8th of Apr 2016
Big business is ploughing big money into innovation. In the last 1-3 years, IAG Insurance, Australia Post, Telstra, Optus, PwC and many more have announced multi million dollar funds focused on innovation. But how do you spend the dollars and get a real return? In this article we cover of the top 4 keys to success for corporate startups:
- Involve yourself and your team in the startup community
- Attend meet ups like Startup Victoria’s monthly meet up. It’s free and up to 400 people get along to the events which are held at Inspire9 every month. Plus if you get on the mailing list you’ll get updates to all the key events happening around the startup world. At meet ups you’ll meet other startups either attending or on panels and learn from them directly.
- Get onto state government news distribution lists. For instance the Victorian government has it’s monthly ICT email which goes out to interested contacts and again, they do a great job of curating the best opportunities. Kathy Coultas and her team can get you on the list.
- Check out TheFetch for more curated local events.
- Do a bit of internal up-skilling and training. There are a bunch of low cost or free training and also paid courses like those run out of General Assembly (Their Digital Marketing and UX courses are both really good ones). This is particularly useful for team members who have perhaps been used to being a part of the corporate machine and haven’t been generalists before. In a startup, you need to know a little bit about a lot of stuff to keep on top of it all.
- Take your team to a hackathon. Sure you could run one internally, but go out and actually experience one with your team first. Again the above lists should help keep you informed about any hackathons if they’re on.
- Stay on top of startup news. You can do this on sites like Startup Daily or Starup Smart for local news, TechCrunch for global news. Paul Bennet (VC at AirTree ventures) is the best source of auto-curated news out there and you can sign up here. I read it religiously every day – saves a lot of time to have it all in one place. It even auto curates trending tweets from startup twitter influencers.
- On top of that we’ve curated our own list of Twitter influencers which you can find here. Use Hoosuite to cut out the noise and engage with them. There’s a lot going on that you find out through this source in particular.
- You could even consider putting the team through an accelerator program – some accelerators like One10 have separate consulting services that can help corporates. Some are specifically built for corporate startups – like Slingshot(which just recently bought Melbourne based startup accelerator Angelcube).
- Chat with other corporates who have done a great job of it
If you’ve got Linkedin Sales Navigator as well, why not also do a quick Linkedin search for other Innovation Managers and find peers across other non-competitive organisations that may be willing to share insights with you.
- Prepare for it structurally
- Realistically assess the level of entrepreneurial competence within the proposed team – do you have the right people in the team, or do you need to bring in outside help in the form of an individual who has successfully done it before?
- Separate the team structurally so they report directly to a senior General Managing Director or Executive Director.
- Build KPI’s into any teams who will be supporting the startup internally around the Startup’s success.
- Look at whether it may be necessary to separate out from the company as a subsidiary
- Assess whether you have an innovation ready culture. If it’s not supported from the top downs a priority of the business, the startup will struggle to thrive.
- Be realistic with your numbers
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