Since the creation of the first innovation accelerator, Y Combinator, in 2005, corporate accelerators are increasingly being adopted as a way for established firms to source innovation from startups. However, few studies have addressed the drivers of successful accelerators. This case study examines the experience of an established, global firm that launched 12 corporate accelerators between 2013 and 2016. The findings highlight two critical factors in building an effective corporate acceleration capacity: 1) designing a differentiated value proposition for startups based on the capitalization of corporate assets, and 2) developing a specific process to manage the relationships between the corporation and the startups involved in the accelerator. One strong mechanism increasing the potential for success is the assignment of dedicated business developers who can act as boundary spanners and oversee relationships to ensure that the interests of both parties converge.
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Volume 61, Issue 4, July-August 2018