Firms Commit $100 Million to Building a Global Network of Incubation Centers; First Opens Today in Palo Alto, California
PALO ALTO, CA – October 4, 2000 – Accenture Technology Ventures, the venture capital unit of Accenture , and SOFTBANK Venture Capital today introduced GameChange, a global network of seed round venture capital and business-creation centers that will focus on high- growth, enterprise-centric market segments. Together, the firms have committed $100 million to building GameChange’s global network.
GameChange will enable the entrepreneurs of its portfolio companies to leverage Accenture ’s and SOFTBANK’s vast customer and portfolio company networks, deep industry and technology insights and business-creation experience to grow ideas into companies and speed them to market. The first center in the network is open for business today in Palo Alto, California and will focus on enterprise-centric segments, including eCommerce, software, infrastructure and related technologies.
GameChange has initial plans to establish approximately 10 closely linked centers in technology hot spots around the world. Future centers may focus on more specific segments, such as wireless technologies and services for enterprises. These centers will enable GameChange entrepreneurs to take advantage of the market presence of Accenture professionals, resources and clients in 48 countries. The centers will also provide entrepreneurs access to SOFTBANK’s investment professionals and network of more than 150 portfolio companies to help GameChange entrepreneurs gain channel access, build market-share and strengthen capabilities through strategic partnerships. SOFTBANK’s activities outside the United States will be coordinated with SOFTBANK International Ventures and its regional funds.
In addition, GameChange has unique sources of deal flow: Accenture , Accenture clients, SOFTBANK and GameChange professionals. GameChange also will work with entrepreneurs from sources outside of the founding firms.
"There’s been a lot of activity in the incubator space, but Accenture and SOFTBANK bring something unique to entrepreneurs," said Jackson L. Wilson, managing general partner of Accenture Technology Ventures. "Collectively, we represent an unmatched global network of brand-name clients and portfolio companies. As a result, entrepreneurs working with GameChange will benefit from access to and input from a broad array of potential customers, many of whom are searching for just the sort of innovative technology solutions and new business ideas GameChange intends to incubate."
"Our combined knowledge, business savvy and experience provide a quicker route to markets, profits and success," added Gary Rieschel, executive managing director of SOFTBANK. "GameChange is unlike any other incubator. We are excited about its potential to ’change the game’ by quickly turning good business ideas into great companies. GameChange will provide the resources, talent and connections that will dramatically boost entrepreneurs’ chances for enduring success."
Investment Strategy and Capabilities
GameChange entrepreneurs will receive seed round funding of up to $2 million to develop their business ideas. In some cases, GameChange may provide even greater levels of seed round funding. To raise later stages of funding, GameChange portfolio companies will have more streamlined access to the global financial backing of both Accenture Technology Ventures and SOFTBANK.
GameChange will work with entrepreneurs to access Accenture ’s and SOFTBANK’s extensive Global 1000 executive and entrepreneur network. Such access will enable start-ups in the network to obtain rapid input from potential customers and alliance partners, as well as penetrate early brand-name buyers.
GameChange also will employ a unique methodology for incubating companies that leverages Accenture ’s and SOFTBANK’s proven processes and tools. These methods have been successfully employed in SOFTBANK’s Hotbank incubators, as well as through Accenture ’s work with more than 350 start-ups. One element of this approach involves tapping into the insights and ideas of professionals with experience in such diverse areas as: venture capital investing, technology development and implementation, entrepreneurial business creation, and the design of strategic industry solutions. As a result, GameChange’s portfolio companies will be better able to build revenue- generating start-ups that become eventual market leaders.
GameChange also will provide value-added services in areas such as recruiting, marketing and public relations, Web design, prototype development, finance, and accounting through internal capabilities and alliances with leading firms.
By exploiting all of these strengths, GameChange intends to reduce incubation time of its portfolio companies to an average of six months, from the current industry average of nine months.
GameChange Palo Alto - Management Team
Pär Arvidsson and Mark Lockareff have been named managing directors of GameChange Palo Alto, and collectively bring more than 30 years of technology, general management, investment and entrepreneurial experience to the organization.
Before joining GameChange as a founding Managing Director, Pär was a partner at Strategic Decisions Group (SDG), a Silicon Valley–based management consulting firm that helps client organizations develop and implement growth strategies, create new business opportunities and evaluate acquisition candidates. Pär also is a founder of SB2, a company that distributes financial and other time-sensitive information using wireless technologies including sending digital information via the FM radio network. In 1990, he co-founded Bare Escentuals, a specialty retailer of all-natural skin care and cosmetics products, where he was active in a wide range of capacities from CFO to interim-CEO.
Prior to co-founding GameChange, Mark Lockareff was Vice President of Corporate Development at Excite@Home where he was responsible for equity investing, joint venture, spin-out and M&A activities. In 1999, Mark helped found and manage Excite’s Commerce Division as Vice President of Business Development and Operations. Mark joined Excite as Vice President of Classified Advertising after its acquisition of Classifieds2000, Inc. As Vice President and General Manager of Classified Advertising, Mark helped establish Classifieds2000 as the leading classifieds service on the Internet and one of the Web’s top 50 highest-traffic sites.
GameChange Global - Board of Directors
GameChange will retain strong management ties to its parent firms. The GameChange board of directors is comprised of prominent partners from both Accenture Technology Ventures and SOFTBANK Venture Capital. Current board members include:
Barry W. Cater -- General Partner, Accenture Technology Ventures
Rex Golding -- Principal Managing Director, SOFTBANK Venture Capital
Scott Killips -- General Partner, Accenture Technology Ventures
GameChange is the only global, seed round venture capital and business-creation company that maximizes entrepreneurs’ chances for success by uniting the vision of the entrepreneur with the unparalleled customer networks, market insights and disciplined business- building approaches of Accenture and SOFTBANK Venture Capital. Learn more at www.gamechange.com.
About Accenture Technology Ventures
Accenture Technology Ventures, a unit of Accenture , works with entrepreneurs to build companies that transform industries and generate superior economic returns. The unit provides a unique venture capital option that can help start-ups accelerate growth and market penetration. Based in Palo Alto, California, Accenture Technology Ventures expects to invest up to $1.5 billion globally over the next five years.
About SOFTBANK Venture Capital
SOFTBANK Venture Capital works with the best entrepreneurs to create the most powerful companies of the Internet economy. SOFTBANK Venture Capital has $2.5 billion under its management, over 150 leading Internet companies in its portfolio, and an unparalleled investment team of former CEOs and entrepreneurs, technology pioneers, senior executives from major technology corporations, and leaders from the investment banking community. Companies in its portfolio include AppGenesys, Art Technology Group, E*Trade, Electron Economy, Evoke, Hubstorm, Interliant, Intertrust, LRN, Perfect.com, Preview Systems, Network Security Technologies, Reciprocal, Spinway, Support.com, TeraBeam Networks, VeriSign and Yahoo!.