Thursday, 25 May 2017 20:38

Slingshot launches new venture to connect corporates with start-ups

Slingshot launches new venture to connect corporates with start-ups Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Slingshot, which develops and manages corporate accelerator programmes, claims major corporate businesses have signed up as founding members of its CoVentured platform aimed at connecting corporates with start-ups and boosting innovation in Australia.

The accelerator claims Westpac, Woolworths, Optus, Australia Post, Energy Australia and Lendlease among the two-dozen founding members of CoVentured, which is designed to help corporates actively identify, track, and engage with start-ups.

Slingshot says the goal is to foster new engagements and break down barriers to collaboration, from pilots and proof of concepts to minority investments, co-creation and vendor relationships.

Slingshot chief executive Karen Lawson says improving the way corporates and start-ups connect is crucial to lifting Australia's innovation performance, and ultimately, generating economic growth and job creation.

{loadpositiion peter}She also says the goal is foster new engagements and break down barriers to collaboration, from pilots and proof of concepts to minority investments, co-creation and vendor relationships.

“Our corporate accelerator programmes have proven how collaboration between corporates and start-ups can result in commercial outcomes – creation of powerful business models, improved validation and testing, customer centricity, speed to market, scalability which drives growth and more successful start-ups. But this collaboration is also critical to realising true innovation within our biggest businesses.”

Lawson cites the latest Global Competitive Report, showing that Australia had dropped to 26th in the world for innovation.

And she says the recent OECD Economic Survey also stated that despite benefitting from a high level of innovation “input” such as a well-developed research system, a strong skills base and a supportive institutional framework, Australia was lacking in innovative outputs.

“CoVentured is a way for both market forces (corporates and startups) to harness innovation.

“Working with start-ups is the best way to find, test and develop potentially market changing technologies and solutions and drive disruption, not just survive it. Both sides win,” Lawson says.

Tim Cowan, vice-president of mobile product, Optus, says collaborating with start-ups is a key focus for the telco.

Cowan says CoVentured will provide Optus with opportunities to engage with Australia’s flourishing startup community.

“Partnering with start-ups is a huge driver of creative and innovative thinking and will help as we work to deliver the next generation of products and services to our customers.”

Andrew Perry, EnergyAustralia executive – NextGen, said the energy retailer would use Slingshot CoVentured to connect with “ambitious, innovative thinkers behind new energy solutions that puts customers in control”.

“There’s a great deal of change happening in the energy sector at present and we are taking this as an opportunity to help great ideas and innovation get to market.

“Through CoVentured, we look forward to partnering with start-up businesses and disruptive technology developers of tomorrow that help our customers better manage their energy, reduce carbon emissions, and save money.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired in 2020. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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