Exactly a year back, the meeting rooms at the Mobile World Capital headquarters were at full steam shaping a new ground-breaking program about to be born. Talent acquisition, agenda, KPIs, facilitators… all the bits and pieces were put together to launch the first edition of The Collider, one of a kind venture builder, cradled in the international entrepreneurial hub of Barcelona.
At that point, the organization had several assumptions to be validated taking into account the uniqueness of the product. The premise was risky but still with an incredible potential: to “connect scientific research with the entrepreneurial initiative, in order to create highly innovative startups.” Such an ambition comes together with great uncertainty, inherent to the start-up world and enhanced by the tech-transfer peculiarities of the program.
So here we bring a few reflections on key matters, that were at stake in the first ideation meetings, following half a year of the true reality test:
The process, the other way round.
Usually, the story goes like this: “I have a problem, I look for a solution”. In this case, we were pursuing the opposite: “I have a solution, I look for an opportunity”. All technologies accepted in the first edition of The Collider were the result of years of research in academic centres and had been born and raised in the ‘lab’ level. Landing them on the business ground required deep market understanding and a sharp attitude from our business leaders. Today, following an intense training and monitoring through the opportunity validation phase, The Collider finally hosts three real companies with three real clients proving that it is not only possible to follow the process the other way round but also, that it can turn into a very valuable effort.
Scientists can make great entrepreneurs.
At least from our experience, this has come true. All participants -scientists and businessmen and women – were compelled to attend all workshops, being these considerably business-driven due to the program’s venture building nature. And even though quite a few inspirational guests did belong to a scientific background, the core debate always stood on the marketing side of things. Therefore, our scientists in residence have faced a true learning challenge to understand the ins and outs of business modelling and economic growth. In the end, not only they’ve proven capable of managing the key operational concepts but they have, in some cases, taken over a significant role in the project0’s pitching and communication.
Make haste slowly.
The Collider is characterised by its incredibly fast pace, from lab to market in fairly six months. Our participants have adapted swiftly through the roller-coaster of post-its, P&Ls and OKRs but truth be told, the ecosystem moves at a different rhythm, specially when you think of big corporations. The interest from stakeholders has been considerable from the early stages but moving from paper to reality is the real challenge since corporations, as opposed to startups, have a hierarchical structure which makes it harder to move pilots forward quickly. Therefore, we’ve had to learn to find the sweet spot of timing in all relationships with big corporations.