How this virtuous structure of innovation uniting research institutions, companies, and startups provides solutions to society’s problems through technology and the entrepreneurial mindset.
In biology, an “ecosystem” is a set of communities interacting with each other and the environment, generating a stable, balanced, and self-sufficient system — such as corals, caves, and forests. In the corporate world, this is not very different.
An innovation ecosystem brings together companies, startups, universities, government, technology parks, and other institutions with a focus on creating a collaborative and innovative environment. In it, these agents work together, share results, exchange experiences and knowledge, and transfer technology, giving life to open innovation.
To explain more about this concept, we have prepared an article about innovation ecosystems worldwide, their agents, benefits, and how they work in practice.
Innovation ecosystems around the world
The most famous innovation ecosystem in the world is Silicon Valley, located in California, United States.
It is home to large companies, such as Alphabet, Apple, Intel, Meta, and Netflix, and two of the most essential universities on the planet: Stanford University and the University of California. Furthermore, Silicon Valley is home to hundreds of startups known as “unicorns” whose estimated value exceeds 1 billion dollars.
Israel, in turn, also has a globally recognized innovation ecosystem, encompassing companies such as Mobileye, Waze, and Wix.com.
In Brazil, an example of a thriving innovation ecosystem is the city of Curitiba. According to the Global Startup Ecosystem Report, the capital of Paraná is the only Brazilian city among the most promising emerging ecosystems in the world.
Tecnopuc, the Scientific and Technological Park of the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul (PUCRS), is also a success story. The hub is home to hundreds of organizations and facilitates relations between universities, companies, startups, and public authorities.
Finally, another national highlight is Campinas, the city of one of Venture Hub’s offices — and not for anything. Mainly, thanks to Unicamp (State University of Campinas), which has always been a reference in education and entrepreneurship, attracting large companies and researchers who have made the region a renowned and revered innovation ecosystem?
The ecosystem agents
Each agent, or actor, has objectives, challenges, qualities, and knowledge and seeks something when connecting to the ecosystem.
The articulation of the ecosystem by Venture Hub, under the concept of open innovation, generates synergy, enabling the generation of business between different actors and creating paths for them to achieve their objectives and solve their challenges.
Let’s see more about the main actors.
Startups seek maturity and growth through a perfect pitch to attract customers, partners, and investments and take advantage of the value of the ecosystem.
For them, TechStart, our open innovation and acceleration ecosystem, works with some market verticals and provides information through conceptual and methodological assets, guiding them on their journey of technological development and growth, be it revenue, number of users, or connections that will enable your specific objectives.
Furthermore, startups have several qualities that differentiate them from other actors in the ecosystem, such as agility and flexibility to create ideas, transform them into new technologies, and test them in the market.
The barriers that arise during the journey of one of these emerging companies can be overcome with the support of a multidisciplinary hub, such as innovation ecosystems such as TechStart — which brings together innovative people and technologies capable of generating value and moving society.
The TechStart program is open for registration for the 2023 cycle; if you want to participate, choose your vertical and register in the pre-selection: Agro Digital, Food Innovation, Supply Chain, and Health.
Research institutions (called “technological partners” in the ecosystem) seek to bring their technologies and other technological assets to the market.
Together with the ecosystem and as a result of connections with startups and large and medium-sized companies, the institutes can visualize their potential markets and access them faster, more efficiently, and at scale, ensuring the dissemination of their knowledge and technologies through insertion in new businesses and markets.
For the ecosystem, they bring not only the state of the art of the technologies they are developing but also the expertise in the research and development process, strengthening the intellectual capital of the ecosystem.
In other words, for startups, having the support of a research institution is a real differentiator. If you want a partnership like this, be part of Venture Hub’s innovation ecosystem, TechStart.
Large and medium-sized companies seek to stay informed about the development of a specific market, create joint business opportunities, and pave the way for mergers, acquisitions, and investments.
The program’s ecosystem connections and knowledge flows give large and medium-sized companies a chance to achieve strategic and corporate objectives, such as improving operational efficiency, accessing new technologies and disruptive business models, externalizing and sharing the risk of the research process and technological development, and eventually finding strong and mature companies to invest in.
Companies bring to the ecosystem experience with large teams, development and production, more significant capital, logistics, and access to customers, suppliers, and partners.
Investors seek good returns and controlled risk by diversifying their portfolios by investing in startups that have undergone a rigorous selection process, as assessed by TechStart mentors, partners, and the Venture Hub team.
In this way, the practice of CVC (Corporate Venture Capital) becomes possible, with companies investing in opportunities generated by TechStart and increasing the chances of return on invested capital, mainly due to how much the program contributes to the development of participating startups.
In addition to resources, investors bring access, contacts, and knowledge about markets and forms of financing to the ecosystem.
If you are an investor looking for solid, secure, and scalable startups to invest in, discover Venture Hub’s Select Portfolio. It is undoubtedly the best alternative.
Benefits of an innovation ecosystem
Being part of an innovation ecosystem means co-creation and collaboration, which improves the innovation process and guarantees a series of competitive advantages to all participants, such as:
- Exchange of experiences: Being in contact with other companies that have already gone through challenges similar to your teams is enriching and a great way to build more effective solutions in less time.
- Recognition: Growth and development are indispensable steps for every company that seeks
- Indication: Knowledge is not the only thing transferred in an innovation ecosystem. This is because it is common for companies to recommend the work of their partners to stakeholders — increasing trust between actors and creating a network of partnerships.
- Improvement: This is popularly the great asset of an innovation ecosystem. This is one of the consequences of the exchange of experiences, which helps to optimize processes, products, and services, train professionals, expand the network of contacts, and attract talent.
An innovation ecosystem in practice
At Venture Hub, the great exponent of the innovation ecosystem is TechStart and its respective verticals: Agro Digital, Food Innovation, Supply Chain, and Health.
It is a pragmatic and objective-focused model, based on four pillars: sessions, office hours, working groups, and connections, and structured on two fronts: Warm Up and the Acceleration Program.
The content of each of these fronts is based on a series of methodologies. The choice of methods goes through a constant and extensive process of research and adaptation, in addition to creating new tools that we understand as essential for achieving the program’s goals.
We benchmark best practices, participate in events aimed at accelerating startups, apply tools internally, understand the mechanics, parts, and tools that make up the methodologies, and then suggest new arrangements.
Some of the tools we used were created by our own team based on the understanding that market methodologies have gaps in connections between startups and other actors, mainly with research institutions and large and medium-sized companies.
This is one of our differentials: the acceleration model combines tools from different methodologies created or adapted to serve specific ecosystems in specific contexts. And, for each case, there is a different combination of tools.
The idea is not to make participants experts in a methodology or process but to ensure they know different tools and learn to identify when and why each should be used in their business according to their journey.
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