THE CONNECT GROUP

Incubator and Accelerator

In 1994, The Connect Group was formed as an incubator and accelerator for new online technology based solutions. We specialise in nurturing disruptive or transformational propositions. So as you might imagine we are immersed in many exciting and innovative things including Deep Learning, [AI], Blockchain, DLT and SMART technologies and have been for a number of years.

The propositions that we take on can range from Smart ERP and social platform platforms to algorithmic profiling and the more human, sematic reasoning based solutions. It’s a wide gamut, but they all share a set of fundamentals that are at the core of what we do. They are new technologies that have the potential to change and enrich our lives.

ACADEMIC INSTITUTIONS

We also maintain close links with a number of academic institutions and through our global innovations network we act as thought leaders to stimulate this valuable resource. This network includes SRI, Oxford and Cambridge Universities. We are always on the lookout for new ideas that will change old economy processes as these ultimately bring the biggest challenges and generate the greatest rewards.

WHAT WE DO

Development Partner

From a purely digital development partner perspective we have all the skills necessary.

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Business Partner

Connect Innovation is much more than a private equity or venture capital firm or a traditional .com incubator.

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Investment Criteria

We have developed a three stage process for engaging with the Connect Innovate team.

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Development Partner

On one side of the business we act as a digital development partner. This can take many forms, from being commissioned to develop a pre-defined solution right the way through to being a joint venture partner and having a more strategic role. We have over the past 25 years developed the infrastructure and skills to tackle some truly challenging and complex online propositions. Often our role will extend beyond that of a traditional digital development partner, we may for example in a JV or Partnership also use our expertise to shape the business wrapper to ensure the success of the solution. Our approach has been instrumental in defining, shaping and launching 65+ business propositions globally over the past 25 years.

From a purely digital development partner perspective we have all the skills necessary to define and deliver even the most complex of digital solutions. Our development team have won numerous awards and we continue to push the boundaries of what is possible. Over the last 10 years we have become heavily involved in the more heuristic side of computer science. We have developed specific skills and capabilities that now mean we are at the forefront of what is possible with AI and the sub-set of machine and deep learning.

In conjunction with our academic partners we continue to develop and refine techniques and ‘models’ that enable our digital solutions to learn, adapt and evolve from human interactions. We are genuinely excited about this fourth industrial revolution [the AI revolution]. We are particularly excited by the prospect of ‘Deep Learning’ [when a machine learning algorithm is given the ability to learn and adapt its own programming]. We already have several projects underway that we believe are at the vanguard of this exciting new branch of human science.

Business Partner

In 2008 we set up a dedicated ‘Innovations Team’. This team was founded to provide the full set of skills and capabilities to incubate and nurture digital “ideas”. We had recognised for a while that so many great ideas did not fit the traditional PE model, many just needed a little incubation and direction. We knew by leveraging our expertise, our global innovations network and academic connections we could ensure our clients would go rapidly from an idea or concept to a profitable business. This was the catalyst for Connect Innovation.

We fund and incubate great ideas using our own private equity, but we also have new-age PE partnerships based in Silicon Valley, California, London and Monaco. We maintain our Innovations Team at our dedicated Innovation Centre in Zagreb, Croatia which is the hub of our European operations.

Connect Innovation is much more than a private equity or venture capital firm or a traditional .com incubator. We bring together all key elements required to create great companies: team, concept, technology, and of course capital. We are 100 percent operationally involved in building any venture we are nurturing, and we cover all critical functions with our expert teams. So although technologies and markets have changed dramatically during the last 10 years, the investment principles upon which we were founded have not. The Connect Innovation team, all seasoned high-tech executives, always take a very active and team-oriented approach to helping entrepreneurs and established businesses throughout every stage of the process.

We are passionate entrepreneurs and focused on delivery. Whether it’s a brand new technology in a brand new market or, as is often the case, helping an established business transform we apply the same rigorous discipline and energy. We also continually examine technology trends, identifying those technologies we believe will transform entire industries. Our emphasis is on what will happen next, what will succeed, and then, what will endure.

Investment Criteria

As one might imagine we are continually approached with ideas ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous. So we need some way of filtering out the chaff. That’s not to say we are unapproachable, we relish talking to all sorts of people and we often provide advice and guidance free of charge. However, if we like an idea we have to add some qualification and sanity to the process. If we opened up our innovate team to everyone we would sink under the weight of ideas and energy that surround them. So we have developed a three stage process for engaging with the Connect Innovate team.

The three stages to our due diligence:

1. Screening due diligence

2. Business due diligence

3. Legal due diligence

Stage 1: Screening due diligence

The Connect Innovation investment panel review and evaluate hundreds of business opportunities and use predetermined criteria to identify which opportunities to focus on as possible investments. This allows the team to quickly flag the ones that fit and also indicate that they will spend more time and money evaluating.

Typically, for each 10 opportunities reviewed, three will receive a detailed review (second stage and third stage of due diligence). and Connect Innovation may invest in one or two of them

Innovation may invest in one or two of them.

Most opportunities do not make it through screening due diligence for two reasons:

1. The opportunity does not fit Connect Innovation investment panel mandate or criteria.

2. The proposition will not be commercially viable as its success is reliant on factors out of the control of
the team.

Stage 2: Business due diligence

Once the opportunity has passed initial “screening” it is determined to fit the Connect Innovation investment criteria. The opportunity is then assigned to a senior member of the team who will, with experts, investigate further to determine the viability of the opportunity. We have a specific process that involves reviewing the management team, market potential, the product or service (and the need it meets) and the business model. This is perhaps the most critical part of the due diligence process as this will determine the investment required, the reward and the risks. This can take several weeks’ even a couple of months. It is not unusual for the opportunity to go through several refinements before it will pass this stage.

At the end of this stage the Connect Innovate team leader will work with the individual or organisation to agree the terms and conditions of the business partnership going forward. Our preference is always to offset development cost against equity. Our view simple, by this point we are fully immersed in all aspects of the proposition. We know the risks, but we have everything in place to make this a success. So we would rather share the risk and the eventual reward.

Stage 3: Legal due diligence

In the final stage the Connect Innovation investment panel will engage with our lawyers and any third-party professional organisation to ensure the business partnership adheres to all legal and regulatory requirements and that both parties are fully protected.

Contact Us

If you would like to know more about The Connect Group, our developments or how to apply to the innovation team for funding and support please contact, Jeremy Keohane or complete this form: