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Championship: Opening up the ivory tower

This is the 22nd article in a continuing series that examines the state of the ecosystem necessary to successfully bring technology to market. Based on dozens of interviews with entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, angel investors, business leaders, academics, tech-transfer experts and policy makers, this series looks at what is working and what can be improved in the go-to-market ecosystem in the United States, Canada and Britain. We invite your feedback.

By Francis Moran and Leo Valiquette

In the context of getting technology to market, “champion” can mean a lot of different things.

Early in this series we defined it as individuals within established enterprises who see the value in supporting a new venture or investing resources in an innovation to help realize its commercial potential. This is often driven by the need to solve a pain point that the patron organization has been unable to address with its internal resources.

A champion can also be a senior decision maker within a large enterprise who provides the clout and support for a successful spinout. Many companies often sit on proprietary IP and leave its commercial potential unrealized because it doesn’t fit with their product lines or existing markets. However, with a little vision and persistence from few committed intrapreneurs, a new company can be born.

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Accelerated: Springboard takes a ‘people centric’ approach

This is the 21st article in a continuing series that examines the state of the ecosystem necessary to successfully bring technology to market. Based on dozens of interviews with entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, angel investors, business leaders, academics, tech-transfer experts and policy makers, this series looks at what is working and what can be improved in the go-to-market ecosystem in the United States, Canada and Britain. We invite your feedback.

By Francis Moran and Leo Valiquette

This week we conclude our two-part discussion with Jon Bradford, the man behind The Difference Engine and Springboard, two U.K.-based startup accelerators that took their inspiration from TechStars and Y Combinator in the U.S.

The Difference Engine was an initiative supported by public funds that launched in the north east of England two years ago. While that program was successful, funding cuts to regional economic development, as well as a desire among angel investors to regroup in a more central location, led to what was essentially v2.0 of The Difference Engine, Springboard. Springboard is an intensive 13-week program based at the ideaSpace Enterprise Accelerator, part of Cambridge University’s state-of-the-art Hauser Forum.

Last week, Jon talked about the role that Springboard plays in the commercialization ecosystem, how it selects teams for its program, and the characteristics of a winning team. This week, we continue with his thoughts on why companies fail, how Springboard measures its effectiveness and what it takes to create a successful startup accelerator.

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Accelerated: The U.K.’s Springboard gets on and does stuff

This is the 20th article in a continuing series that examines the state of the ecosystem necessary to successfully bring technology to market. Based on dozens of interviews with entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, angel investors, business leaders, academics, tech-transfer experts and policy makers, this series looks at what is working and what can be improved in the go-to-market ecosystem in the United States, Canada and Britain. We invite your feedback.

By Francis Moran and Leo Valiquette

Throughout this series, we have often referenced startup accelerators and the important role they play in the commercialization ecosystem, as well as where government support fits into the equation. So we thought it was time to take a closer look at these entities by profiling three different ones from Canada, the U.S. and the U.K.

We caught up recently with Jon Bradford, the man behind The Difference Engine and Springboard, two U.K.-based startup accelerators that took their inspiration from TechStars and Y Combinator in the U.S. The Difference Engine was an initiative supported by public funds that launched in the north east of England two years ago. The goal was to address the lack of quality VC deal flow for startup technology companies and prove, as TechStars had in Boulder, CO, that an accelerator didn’t have to be based in a high-tech hotspot such as Silicon Valley, or even a major city.

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Accelerated: TechStars harnesses the power of mentorship

This is the 19th article in a continuing series that examines the state of the ecosystem necessary to successfully bring technology to market. Based on dozens of interviews with entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, angel investors, business leaders, academics, tech-transfer experts and policy makers, this series looks at what is working and what can be improved in the go-to-market ecosystem in the United States, Canada and Britain. We invite your feedback.

By Francis Moran and Leo Valiquette

Throughout this series, we have often referenced startup accelerators and the important role they play in the commercialization ecosystem, as well as where government support fits into the equation. So we thought it was time to take a closer look at these entities by profiling three different ones from Canada, the U.S. and the U.K.

We continue this week with TechStars, a mentorship-driven seed-stage investment program that operates three-month sessions in Seattle, Boulder, Boston and New York. We caught up with Nicole Glaros, managing director of TechStars Boulder, to talk about what has made the program successful, how it works and why it chose the cities it did in which to operate.

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Accelerated: Waterloo’s culture of collaboration

This is the 18th article in a continuing series that examines the state of the ecosystem necessary to successfully bring technology to market. Based on dozens of interviews with entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, angel investors, business leaders, academics, tech-transfer experts and policy makers, this series looks at what is working and what can be improved in the go-to-market ecosystem in the United States, Canada and Britain. We invite your feedback.

By Francis Moran and Leo Valiquette

Throughout this series, we have often referenced startup accelerators and the important role they play in the commercialization ecosystem, as well as where government support fits into the equation. So we thought it was time to take a closer look at these entities by profiling three different ones from Canada, the U.S. and the U.K.

This week, we start with Waterloo’s five-year-old Accelerator Centre. We recently spoke with Tim Jackson, COO of the AC, about the role that this kind of organization plays in the process of getting technology to market, what makes it tick, the culture required to support it and how it measures success. What follows is an abridged transcript of our conversation.

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