Global information technology (IT) major Oracle is making a push into Asia with the launch of accelerators in Singapore, New Delhi and Mumbai. Globally, it already maintains accelerators in Bristol, Paris, Sao Paulo and Tel Aviv.
The move is part of a major international expansion of its Startup Cloud Accelerator programme. The accelerator’s pilot programme was launched in Bangalore in April 2016 and is a six-months long programme that includes technical mentoring, a co-working space, and access to the Oracle network. This is combined with cloud credits.
However, unlike most corporate accelerator, it is run by Oracles’ research & development (R&D) team, reflecting how corporates are leveraging on startup ventures as part of their R&D strategy. However, this also brings challenges as corporates source for deals and acquisitions, in addition to determining how to position their corporate venturing unit.
This is particularly necessary given the presence of significant capital in the market but its corresponding lack of differentiation. While corporate investment for startup ventures has the potential to provide customers and distribution, it is also necessary to consider the dynamics of a startup-corporate relationship.
At a time when corporate venture capital (CVC) units may also be forgetting their purpose, it is crucial that both sides make the effort to make sense of corporate venturing. CVC investments are defined by their characteristics of being both strategic as well as financial investments..
David McClure of 500 Startups notes in the CB Insights piece: “It’s an unfamiliar process dealing with startups. CVCs don’t realize they are VCs. If you’re a typical corporation and you make decisions on an annual schedule, startups live and die in that time-period,” while highlighting the need for corporates to be familiar with concepts like deal flow, diversifying bets, and portfolio company growth.
Oracle’s cloud services consist of an array of at least 50 individual services, given that it operates as an infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) provider. Its Startup Cloud Accelerator is open to both early-stage ventures that aren’t necessarily a focussed on business and tech-enabled startups (i.e. ventures leveraging existing technology for business).
In an official statement, Oracle President (Product Development) Thomas Kurian said, “Cloud is enabling incredible innovations across every aspect of business and across every industry. We want to support this next technology revolution powered by cloud.”
With Singapore’s accelerator space being a competitive one, its status as a corporate accelerator with backing from a major global corporate will no doubt enhance its reputation and see it survive for many years to come. But it is likely that it will see its most promising return originate from India, whose cloud services market is forecast to reach $3.52 billion by 2020.