1st February 2022
January was a busy month for the technology investment community with significant investments into UK based “real-tech” companies such as Pragmatic, ONI, BritishVolt, and Nexeon. (I’m using the term “real-tech” here to cover actual useful products that will find their way into an industrial or consumer supply chain within a reasonable timeframe).
It’s interesting to consider what happens inside these companies as they receive such a life-changing investment round. Overnight, the nature of their business risk has changed from financial survival to operational delivery, whilst their staff and capabilities remain unchanged. This is a real and serious challenge that the executive team need to grapple with before the champagne loses its fizz.
Organizational culture is a key issue to consider: how do you quickly bring in the new capabilities that are needed for the enlarged business, whilst maintaining the same culture that won the confidence of the investors?
The answer can lie in the strategic use of partnerships. A good partnership arrangement can give a step-change increase in capability whilst allowing time for recruitment and skills development in the existing workforce.
A good partner will help develop existing staff and expand their knowhow and contacts. Most importantly, a good partner will ensure that this knowhow and associated value then remains within the business rather than being lost to an external supply chain.
The UK community is served by a bewildering array of potential partners including consultancy firms, academic networks and institutes, catapult networks, business accelerators, contract manufacturers, etc, so it is important to understand what each can offer.
It pays to start early. Good partnerships can be nurtured well before the investment cash lands; building relationships takes time but is relatively low financial risk compared with speculative recruitment or purchasing.
There has been much comment recently about the changing nature of business in a post-Brexit and post-Covid world. With multiple companies competing for a limited talent pool, a skills shortage is likely. Now is the right time to consider the partnerships that can support your future business growth.
Telegraph Materials offers an advisory service to fast-growth businesses bringing new materials-science based technologies and processes to international B2B markets. For more information, see www.telegraphmaterials.com.