Accelerator subsidiary to take start-up approach into big companies

Start-up accelerator and venture tech company Blue Chilli has launched a new subsidiary to take start-up methodologies and approaches into large corporates keen to tap into the excitement of nimble companies and their quick-to-market development.

Blue Chilli X will be headed up by Steve Dunn, who has several decades of experience in large financial companies. Dunn launched the new venture at the IPQC Digital Financial Services conference today.

Dunn told StartupSmart big companies were increasingly committed to exploring new ways of working pioneered by start-ups.

“Our process at Blue Chilli is different, and it doesn’t fit into how big corporates operate, so we’re ready for that. They’ll need to be able to say ‘fine, I’ll carve out a bit of the innovation or project budget for more disruptive ideas’, and then work with us to make it happen,” Dunn says.

“We’ll be testing hypotheses for them. Banks don’t have that capability as they build big business cases and then big programs and products, and then it’s too late to pull out, as everyone is behind it.”

Dunn adds they’re not looking to solve the big infrastructure issues large corporations may have and instead they’ll be focusing on the areas undergoing the most rapid change.

“We’re here to help them keep pace in the digital world, so we’re focused on web, mobile, content and social,” he says. “These are the areas that touch the end users. Big companies have theories behind them, but we can put a solution in the market within six months. If it makes sense, has legs and attracts customers, we can invest further.”

Dunn says they’re already liaising with several potential clients to implement the Blue Chilli development model to some of their innovation challenges.

“We’re taking the BC process and putting a corporate wrapper around it to make it self-sufficient. This way, companies can take out a slice of their innovation or project budget to try to make it work in a safe place with a robust structure,” he says.

Dunn says the combination of his background in big financial services companies and Blue Chilli founder Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin’s start-up experience meant they could create an offering that would generate real results.

“Our secret source is Seb, and his work with 34 start-ups. And I’ve got the corporate background, so we’re confident this is the best way to help company’s innovate,” Dunn says, adding they won’t be using the term MVP (minimum viable product, a draft version of a software) as banks don’t speak that way yet.

Clients will retain the IP for the projects they work on and Blue Chilli will be flexible as to the business model.

“There are a number of ways to construct the partnership and we may establish an entity where we both invested in. Alternatively, it may be fully funded by the company. We’re trying to employ typical start-up, so we’re thinking about how to grow this as we go,” Dunn says.

This article first appeared on StartupSmart.


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