Accenture Plans Goes Big On Taking Indian Startups Global!

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Accenture has operated with at least 50 Indian startups in conceiving pilots for the technology giant’s global clients and is operating to shift a channel for its client’s innovation program, as it extends its startup memoranda in the country.

The US-listed company’s open innovation programme was started nearly two years ago to bring innovation to the startup ecosystem. The latest step is open-innovation-as-a-service, which helps clients look beyond Silicon Valley for new ideas.

Working closely with global clients, we are able to identify their hotspots and concern areas from a technology area. Every three months, we run four cohorts, so we show them the four-five most disruptive startups, who pitch to them. The ones they find the most compelling, they start into a proof-of-concept with them or a rapid prototype, all managed by Accenture.

-Avnish Sabharwal, managing director of Accenture Ventures.

When it is successful, we help them scale. This programme is one of the most popular programmes because if clients have to set up their innovation operations here, it will take them more than a year.

The deep-technology startups Accenture works with typically have $500,000 in revenue. They are then evaluated on 40 additional criteria including business metrics- such as credibility of the founders and the ability to scale- and technology metrics.

When it is successful, we help them scale. This programme is one of the most popular programmes because if clients have to set up their innovation operations here, it will take them more than a year.

The deep-technology startups Accenture works with typically have $500,000 in revenue. They are then evaluated on 40 additional criteria including business metrics- such as credibility of the founders and the ability to scale- and technology metrics.

Accenture tracks 1,500 startups in India, including the 50 they are actively working with. They have made acquisitions and acqui-hires in India as well, but that is not the focus of their programme.

We have done acqui-hires in India and acquisitions in India but we do not disclose them. We are not on a big acquisition spree.

-Rekha Menon, senior managing director and chairman Accenture India, said.

Menon added the programme was just one of the ways in which Accenture works with startups.

We approach the startup ecosystem in many different ways – the first is we just act as a bridge-maker, the other way is as a joint go-to-market because we have the access, a third way is where we would embed them in our solution, and a fourth way is where we would ask them to come and disrupt our processes on the inside. As a result, we have become far more agile and nimble than if we tried to do all of this by ourselves. Accenture works with venture capital firms such as Blume, Kalaari Capital and Sequoia in India.

We get access to the top startups in their portfolio. So, it significantly reduces our time to find the startups and our implementation risk because if they have invested in the startup, they will already have done a thorough due diligence. That gives us an extra cushion.

-Sabharwal said.

Indian IT companies work with startups as well, but those programmes are geared more towards Silicon Valley startups, than those in India. A slew of technology companies has also begun working on accelerators and innovation programmes, such as Microsoft and SAP.

Startups working with Accenture say the programme gives them access to clients they might have been unable to reach on their own.

We had managed to win large clients in India but it would have been hard to win large clients in the international markets without having a presence on the ground there. Accenture opened those doors for us. We have worked with other IT integrators too and with Accenture it didn’t feel like they wanted something from us in the short term.

-Sachin Garg, founder and CEO of MintM, said.