Thoughts on Segmenting Incubators & Accelerators in Adelaide

by Darren Oemcke and Geoff Thomas

We have segmented incubators and accelerators in Adelaide, to build on the work of Paul Daly in identifying the innovation ecosystem. While Paul’s model is excellent in listing of “what” of available support, it does not provide the “why” — the purpose of the incubators. We are seeking feedback and are presenting it for comment and as a possible framework to build a much more complete map and segmentation. It is developed from the websites of accelerators and incubators that we are aware of personally and from Paul’s work on Adelaide’s innovation ecosystem.

Segmentation by target intake businesses
Figure 1 shows a ‘vector’ style diagram of the accelerators in South Australia, with an approximate starting point for the businesses in the accelerators and an overall direction of acceleration (typically towards large and global), based on a matrix of Small/Medium/Large businesses and Local/National/Global opportunity space.

We identify three potential segments in the diagram; ‘small business’, start-ups’, and ‘gazelles’.

Figure 1. Segmentation by target intake of South Australian business accelerators (Note UniSA ICC is an abbreviation of the University of South Australia’s Innovation and Collaboration Centre)

Segmentation by opportunity growth status
Figure 2 shows a second ‘vector’-style representation of the accelerators. In this figure, the accelerator’s target intake band is shown as solid colour and the target output band of businesses shown in outline.

On the x-axis, we have assessed the stage of company development across a matrix of Idea/Pre-seed/Seed/Post-seed/Growing/Fast-growth growth stage and Local/national/Global opportunity space.

On the y-axis we have shown our perception of the target opportunity potential from a local play to a global play (on average) for the organisation.

We have also indicated where market proof occurs (approximately), which results in three potential segments: ‘pre-proof’ stage incubators where the incubator takes companies into market proof; ‘proof’ stage incubators where the incubator takes companies through market proof; and ‘post-proof’ accelerators that work with companies that have market proof for their products and/or business model.

Figure 2. Vector diagram of South Australian business accelerators (opportunity status-based)

In this analysis we have not included incubators or included Elevate 61, CSIRO ON or similar, which are available to companies based in Adelaide but run their workshops and program interstate.

Segmentation by sector
Most incubators and accelerators have a particular area of interest. They are often sector specific, as the skills needed to say, develop biotechnology, differ from, say, app development. In addition, some incubators and accelerators are limited in their audience, often due to their funding model. We have included incubators and a co-working space that have a very deliberate approach to creating connections and incubating their members businesses in the Table below.

Figure 3 shows a summary of the segmentation for the crude ‘industry’ sectors of company represented in the table against the ‘intake’ status of the various incubators and accelerators.

Figure 3. Intake status of South Australian business incubators and accelerators

The segmentation of the incubators and accelerators gives both the industry and new businesses a better understanding of the eco-system.

This is a first-cut and we would appreciate feedback and comments so that we can improve the approach to segmenting Adelaide’s incubators and accelerators.

Dr Darren Oemcke is a partner in Hydra Consulting, a growth and execution consultancy. He works with a wide range of companies on strategies for growth, product development, implementing business growth, execution of significant projects and business coaching. He has extensive experience in developing products for market and a passion for integrating customer voices into business.

He is a mentor in the Innovyz 9-month and NVI Venture Dorm programs, delivers innovation programs for the NVI and Fox Business School collaboration and the Flinders Business School and is a member of BioAngels and the Accelerating Commercialisation Expert Network. He also informally (possibly secretly) mentors businesses and staff in other incubator programs in SA.

Geoff Thomas is the Principal of Axant Corporate Advisory, which provides advice on mergers and acquisitions, business sales and capital raising for start-up and growth companies. He has been a director of listed, venture capital backed and private companies. He is a mentor in the Innovyz 9-month and NVI Venture Dorm programs and is a member of the SA Angels. Axant and other businesses related to Mr Thomas have, or had, business dealings with all three local Universities and their commercialisation arms. He gives advice freely to anyone who will listen.