Why We Introduced Our Alloy Venture Building Masterclass

Matt Brady

Innovation hasn’t gotten any easier in recent years. Both corporations and universities often find themselves stuck in their attempts to turn compelling problems of interest to their institutions into viable companies.

It’s not that these organizations don’t want to innovate. They do.

Brandpie’s latest CEO Purpose Report from 2023 proves it. The top business objective for chief executives worldwide in the foreseeable future was developing new business models.

So, if it’s not a lack of motivation or aspirations from business and school leadership that prevents their corporations and universities from building entirely new, transformative ventures, what is, exactly?

It’s this question that was the impetus behind the creation of Masterclass, High Alpha Innovation’s one-day workshop that takes place at our annual Alloy Venture Building Summit, with tracks geared toward these two audiences.

What today’s corporate and university leaders can expect to learn at Masterclass: A breakdown

The reasons for building offshoot business ventures vary across organizations.

However, the framework for doing so — whether you’re an established enterprise business or leading research university — is the same for all large institutions looking to create startups: 

  • Ensure there is clear, strategic rationale for external venture building, with buy-in at the senior level (for corporations, the C-suite and board; for universities, from the administration).
  • Implement a rigorous, problem-first, assumption-driven ideation and testing process, with dedicated forcing functions put in place to ensure on-pace progress toward key milestones.
  • Validate, de-risk, and advance business concepts that you and your venture-building partner (more on that shortly) agree have the highest chances of being successful and scalable.
  • Hire a killer founding team with subject-matter expertise and strong business experience tied to your chosen company, and create a venture capital-backable deal/cap table structure.

Each venture-building phase is nuanced. But, at a high level, this really encompasses what new-startup development and launching involves today.

The one factor mentioned above briefly that is critical to your venture-building success is the need to work with a highly committed and collaborative outside partner with vast experience with (and a proven track record of) helping institutions like yours create new companies at scale.

(Potentially even through the creation of a venture studio.)

And that’s a big component of Masterclass, during which you’ll learn about:

Failure modes within corporations and universities (and how to overcome them)

Innovation initiatives centered around venture building can fail because:

  • Startup creation doesn't align with the business strategy/school mission.
  • Executives and administrators don’t see the value of venture creation and, in turn, neglect to offer the desired level of support for related programs.
  • Corporate and university leaders have a “leave-no-idea-behind” mentality.

At Masterclass, we cover these failure modes, among others, and explain how a mindset shift among all stakeholders involved in venture building at your organization is the first step to building entirely new companies that address important societal challenges and attract outside capital investment.

Generating (and narrowing down) a list of strong candidates for new ventures

Startup ideation must begin with a problem, not a solution.

Taking into account the unmet needs of key obstacles facing specific audiences enables your corporation or university to approach these distinct issues from their vantage point.

The good news is most institutions looking to carry out transformative innovation initiatives have no shortage of ideas.

The real challenge comes with whittling that list of strong ideas down to the two or three deemed most likely to thrive from a financial perspective and help the target customers or users in a meaningful, positive way.

Masterclass teaches existing and aspiring innovators how to generate, test, and narrow down business concepts through product-market fit analysis, customer interviews, and other assessment techniques.

By adopting this approach, they can quickly and efficiently move finalist ideas into a “sprint” phase and, eventually, declare a winner to move forward with.

Managing tension and creating ‘Day-Zero’ advantage with your venture building

Having many stakeholders in your venture-building process doesn’t automatically complicate your respective innovation efforts.

That said, there’s almost always going to be some form of tension that arises when creating companies outside the core business.

Knowing how to answer questions from and address concerns of corporate and university leaders who approve and back your venture-building process can ensure you resolve their issues accordingly and keep your efforts on schedule — an underestimated element of successful startup development today.

Our team has decades of experience helping corporations and universities co-design advantaged startups from scratch and launch them into market.

The best practices we share at Masterclass touch upon how innovation leaders at corporations and universities can appease key stakeholders and avoid roadblocks that can derail their venture-building initiatives.

How to accelerate your transformative innovation efforts using our venture-building playbook

Abiding by the foundational principles and techniques mentioned here is just the beginning of your venture-building journey.

By attending our Masterclass, you can get granular insights into these critical facets of venture creation that you can take back to your business or school and use to determine the next steps for transformative innovation efforts.

With the insights shared during our in-depth workshop, along with the breakout sessions and networking opportunities that come along with it, you greatly improve your odds of launching long-lasting companies in a scalable and repeatable way that have an outsize impact on society and lead to strong returns for you and your investors.

The next edition of High Alpha Innovation’s Corporate Masterclass and University Masterclass will take place September 11 at Alloy 2024 in Atlanta.

If you’re looking to create new spin-off ventures at your enterprise or on your campus, this is the event for you. We hope to see you there.

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