A large venture capital fund with a focus on patient capital approaches sought to establish a pre-incubator programme for new founders and managers who are drawn from university environments. The client was concerned that entrants into its established incubator programme tended to face two key challenges:
- They struggled to articulate the customer problem that their business solves.
- They were insufficiently prepared to optimise their profitability whilst in the incubator.
The Oracle’s Solution:
The Oracle undertook an interview-based scoping exercise with key stakeholders. Three workshops were then held for both managers within the client organisation as well as by representatives of current incubatee companies. The outcome of these workshops was agreement on ten half-day pre-incubator sessions which were tailored to the priority needs of the start-ups most likely to be admitted into the generously-funded full incubator programme. The pre-incubator programme was then delivered over a three-month period, being adaptively refined over the delivery period in line with beneficiaries’ needs. The base structure for the programme was anchored to the following priorities:
|Business Models||Customer Conversations|
|Technology Push vs Market Pull||Protecting Intellectual Property|
|Kinetic Execution||Data Commercialisation|
|Demonstrating Market Potential||Raising Finance|
|Planning for Pitching||Exit Opportunities|
The pre-incubator programme was conducted for 38 beneficiaries representing 17 start-ups and the feedback was unanimously positive. Several technologies were submitted to the Oracle for Freedom-to-Operate analyses and to obtain IP protections. The client noted in particular that participant interaction during the programme was excellent and that optional post-session clinic sessions were heavily over-subscribed. It was agreed that the programme, as adapted in line with changing needs, is to be delivered annually on a repeat basis.