The 2016/17 Sprout Accelerator has concluded and we're now in reflect and debrief mode. As a team, we're taking the time to discuss our strengths and weaknesses and have made time to hear from companies who went through the accelerator this year, and last.
Here's what's stuck out for us:
Entrepreneurs learn best from entrepreneurs…
This year Sprout increased the interaction between alumni and our current cohort. This interaction has been really valuable for all entrepreneurs involved as it has allowed them to see exactly what is involved in taking the next step in their business. We have also had companies in the cohort spending time applying the new learning's and strategy exercises to other companies in the cohort. Of particular note was how much the companies got from listening to Victoria Ransom and Larry Ellison tell their stories from the grass roots of business to a successful exit.
Sprout companies are getting their head around seasonality
At Sprout we are pushing the founders hard to remove the biases and barriers to working nimbly and quickly in other regions of the world. A number of companies through this cohort have worked to set up trials, customer sites or demo’s in other geographies. This is allowing them to speed up development and not lose time by having to wait for the optimal season to come around. As an example, Ceratech with their fully drawn beehive frames. While we are in the down time in the New Zealand honey season, Ceratech has established trials with partners in Canada, allowing them to continue to learn and iterate.
There are great exit opportunities in agritech
Agritech businesses have some of the most exciting exit opportunities around. These opportunities occur from many different types of acquirers.
1. Distribution: There are a number of large distribution businesses in agriculture looking to secure innovation for their networks of re-sellers and customers.
2. Supply: Agriculture and food requires certainty of supply. This means often companies in this business are looking for technologies and products that can secure their supply, either from a quantity, traceability and quality standpoint.
3. Competitive advantage: Valuable technologies, most commonly in the Agbio sector, are often sought after as companies seek to sure up their competitive advantage.
Applications are now open for the 2017/18 Accelerator, which begins in October 2017. We recommend people sign up as early as possible so that we can begin to get to know applicants and likewise they get to know us.