Oracle today named the first six startups selected for its Paris-based Oracle Startup Cloud Accelerator program. Oracle launched its first accelerator in Bangalore, India, in April 2016 and has now expanded to seven additional accelerators in other parts of the world.
Corporate-run startup accelerators typically offer nascent companies access to financial and other resources they wouldn’t otherwise have, while exposing the host companies to the startups’ innovative thinking and energy.
Oracle Startup Cloud Accelerator deviates from the traditional model in a number of ways: Oracle doesn’t take equity stakes in the startups; it provides them with highly personalized technical and business mentoring; it gives the startup members free access to a range of Oracle Cloud services; and it helps the startups develop commercial relationships with Oracle’s large enterprise customers.
“We’re trying to develop sustained relationships with startups to give them something that is in line with the specific point in their history,” says Dominique van Deth, Oracle Startup Cloud Accelerator program director for France.
Oracle dedicates two full-time people to work with the startups at each accelerator—a technical “mentor in residence” and a program lead who can provide business counsel. These two people develop a customized curriculum “adapted to the business and technical objectives of each startup,” van Deth says.
In contrast to the Bangalore-based Oracle Startup Cloud Accelerator, which caters to early-stage startups, the Paris accelerator focuses on companies already generating $100,000 in monthly recurring revenue, van Deth says. Oracle Startup Cloud Accelerator “isn’t a one-size-fits-all program,” he says. “It’s adjusted on a market-by-market basis.”
Later-stage startups such as Dial-Once, one of the six companies accepted into the Paris program, are concerned with a very different set of problems, such as selling into larger businesses or growing internationally. “Oracle’s vast global resources, technologies, and support ecosystem will be a boost and position us to continue to scale our solution globally,” says Charles Dunston, CEO of Dial-Once, which digitizes customer-care calls.
The other five startups accepted into the Paris-based accelerator are:
Reggie Bradford, Oracle’s senior vice president who oversees the company’s Startup Ecosystem and Accelerator programs, said all six companies selected for the Paris accelerator are “tremendously tenacious startups and all addressing big global opportunities.”
Oracle received hundreds of applications, each of which was scored by seven judges (from both inside and outside Oracle) based on the strength of the company's management team, its technology usage, its market traction, and other criteria. Those criteria were used to narrow the field to the top 25%. Oracle then conducted follow-up interviews via videoconference, further winnowing the applicant pool to 32 companies.
Oracle conducted business and technical interviews with each of those 32 companies, from which it selected 15 to pitch the Startup Cloud Accelerator team and other industry experts in person. The field was then narrowed to the final six.
Participants are given access to a coworking space, mentoring, a tailored curriculum, peer-to-peer interaction with Oracle employees worldwide, free Oracle Cloud services, and go-to-market education from Oracle and industry executives. They’re also provided opportunities to engage with some of Oracle's 400,000-plus global customers, giving them a path to grow their business.
“It's this piece that's key,” van Deth says. “Accessing enterprise customers is very, very hard for startups. Oracle can help bridge that gap and drive solutions across startups, Oracle, and our customers.”
In addition, he says, the accelerator program illustrates that Oracle can be a strong business and technology partner to companies of all sizes.