A new ‘venture development studio’ has launched to connect start-ups with big business, working with brands to develop and launch new digital companies.
Venturespring works with global brands to develop products, systems and services, and then forms teams made up of young entrepreneurs to scale them as independent, profit-making entities, dispensing the advice, resources and guidance necessary to build up their businesses along the way.
Venturespring based in London Westend, works with clients who want to access a unique ecosystem designed to help start-ups grow and scale by providing resources such as creative talent, investment, marketing and technology in a timely and cost-effective manner. Together, Venturespring and the large corporates shape the start-ups into viable businesses which generate profit for all involved.
Venturespring also builds its own internal startups and works to partner these small businesses with its corporate client network. Its current portfolio incudes four internal start-ups, including the UK’s first ‘social commerce petworking’ platform.
The business is led by entrepreneur Cassandra Harris, who began her career within the property and financial services industry where she specialised in technology and digital strategy.
After a switch of sector to the media, she went on to join WPP global marketing company Mindshare, where she led Unilever’s digital strategy globally. Subsequently, she developed Mindshare Worldwide’s in-house SEO department from scratch. As well as more than tripling the size of the team, she increased search revenues by 300% in her first year, with clients including HSBC, Jaguar, Bayer, Nestle and Kraft.
In 2012, Cassandra left the business to pursue her own ventures, co-founding two successful start-ups including a tech education social enterprise called Free:Formers and the UK operation of a global digital creative agency called Aumcore LLC.
She has launched Venturespring with the support of a number of proven entrepreneurs, finance and venture capital specialists, all of whom have invested in and built digital businesses before and are experts in their field. The team is supported by a number of key advisors at businesses like Facebook, Google and LinkedIn.
Discussing the new business, Cassandra said: “There’s a real gap in the market for this kind of company; it gives big brands the chance to access the sort of ecosystem that you simply can’t guarantee creating in-house, and gives newly formed businesses the chance to work with corporates that could genuinely transform their fortunes.”
Venturespring works with a number of corporate venture divisions including the likes of Vodafone Xone as well as strategic partners such as Meridian Telecoms, a global smartphone manufacturer, which has a portfolio of mobile phone brands including Kazam and Fly Mobile. “Client contacts such as these are useful partners in terms of the unique ecosystem that Venturespring offers, these clients as an example provide a lucrative route to market for some of the start-ups that Venturespring supports”, explains Cassandra.
“We provide that bridge between large bluechip companies and start-ups. They each have something the other one wants, but they move in two different worlds; that’s where we come in. Everyone involved will benefit from what Venturespring is doing.
As well as being a viable, profitable business model, Venturespring also aims to provide the next generation with opportunities that might otherwise not be available to them. The business has already built up links with large youth charities such as the Princes Trust and the business model has an unshakeable CSR element.
Young entrants to the profession are not only getting to learn from the best in the business, they are also given vested equity in the start-ups they create. The long term plan for Venturespring is to incorporate a more structured altruistic element to the programme, with young people from disadvantaged groups being specifically targeted.
“It’s a business model that reaps real rewards – financially, creatively and socially – for everyone involved.”