Why Did We Partner With PARC...And What Is The Big Deal?

Earlier today (Wed, Apr 2), we shared an announcement about an exciting partnership with PARC. Press releases offer limited room for elaboration, so we thought we'd share our perspective in a blog post. So here goes. If you’re an entrepreneur, you know the odds are stacked against you…1:10 by most anecdotal accounts. If you are working on an idea, chances are, someone else in some other part of the world is working on the same or an adjacent idea. And if you were to assume that the other team is at least as smart and as driven as you are, they’re likely to pivot and iterate until both of you arrive at similar product/market concepts.

Having established the above, your challenge is to execute flawlessly and incredibly fast. How exactly do you do that? We believe that’s where startup accelerators are amazingly efficient. Surrounding entrepreneurs with seasoned mentors, an intense focus on customer development, the ability of the partners themselves to support the companies, providing stage-appropriate resources, and creating urgency with a fixed-length program help startups minimize mistakes and operate efficiently.

Back to PARC

Before we go too far, for the uninitiated, here’s a subset of the pioneering technologies PARC has invented since its founding in 1970 – mouse, Ethernet, laser printing, graphical user interface, object-oriented programming, WYSIYG text editor etc. etc. This short YouTube video contains an interview with Steve Jobs and his reaction at seeing the mouse on his visit to PARC in 1979. The short of it is, PARC is focused on “out there” research in many areas, including ubiquitous computing, big data, content-centric networking, contextual intelligence, design and digital manufacturing and many others. Convinced about the coolness quotient yet?

PARC is now very focused on bringing its groundbreaking innovations to the startup community. After a long and intense due diligence process with startup-focused organizations across the world, PARC made a decision that 9Mile Labs would be one of the organizations they would partner with. The PARC team liked the 9Mile Labs focus on B2B companies, they enjoyed the continuity of deep mentor engagement during the program and they liked how the 9Mile Labs team is committed to a community-focused approach to supporting entrepreneurs. Finally, the PARC team felt that the structured curriculum and engagement built upon a strong foundation of the 9Mile Success Framework (more on that in another blog post) offered a great mechanism for programmatic engagement with the startups.

In fact, the interaction between PARC and 9Mile Labs was so positive early on that despite no formal agreement, PARC visited 9Mile Labs during the first program in 2013, spoke to a subset of the companies here and decided to support Comr.se, one of the very promising Cohort I companies. Over the past few months, PARC has dramatically accelerated development of Comr.se’s data analytics infrastructure with PARC’s outsourced data foundry services.  The engagement compresses Comr.se’s development and go-to-market timeframes by 12-18 months at a fraction of the traditional cost, thereby providing them with an amazing competitive advantage.

And This Is Why It’s a Big Deal!

The collaboration between PARC and 9Mile Labs creates unique combinations of disruptive technologies and startups that has not occurred at scale previously. PARC serves to accelerate startups in 3 distinct ways. First, PARC can efficiently offer the broad and deep base of technical expertise with PARC researchers and technologists to help startups in the form of technical mentoring. Second, PARC can draw upon its vast stable of existing technologies and IP that can provide startups a great head-start, as in the case of Comr.se. Third, PARC provides a world-class infrastructure for rapid prototyping - specifically their foundry services for software and cloud technology startups - that obviates the need for startups to expend their scarce time and resources building this infrastructure.

Now let’s combine all of the above with the fact that the focus of PARC’s research and client interactions is innately and historically enterprise and B2B. Hopefully, it begins to become apparent why the collaboration between PARC and 9Mile Labs ought to be great news for budding B2B entrepreneurs.

To be sure, not all startups will be either ready, able or suitable to engage with PARC. But for many startups, this support could spell the difference between success and failure. And that, quite simply, is what we’re trying to do at 9Mile Labs. We want to systematically reduce risks and improve the odds that startups face as they build their businesses.