News & Analysis

Havas Ventures launches to provide startups with communications and marketing help

- September 21, 2016 2 MIN READ

With innovation the buzzword of 2016 and the government splashing cash at incubators and accelerators, these programs are coming in all shapes and sizes, with Havas Ventures the latest to launch.

Spun out of global communications agency Havas, the new accelerator of sorts will look to focus on helping startups with their marketing and communications to further their growth.

Led by executive director Eddie Wilson, who previously worked at private equity and venture capital firm CVC, Havas Ventures will work with ‘high potential’ startups that have a product and paying customers, are looking to scale, and have gone through a Series A funding round.

Wilson said, “Some nine out of 10 new ventures fail. We also know that considered marketing is so often the key differentiator between success or failure of a business. After two years in the making, I’m thrilled to finally announce to the market that we have an offering that will help close this gap in a meaningful and productive way.”

Based in Melbourne, Havas Ventures will offer startups a couple of core services: strategic consultancy, marketing and communications, and access to its global networks. Startups will also receive funding in exchange for a stake in the business.

The idea for Havas Ventures came during Wilson’s time subleasing office space from Havas Melbourne, at which point he said he realised there was an opportunity to help the agency get a real stake in the success of the businesses it works with

James Wright, group chief operating officer of Havas Creative Group, said he and fellow executives Mike Wilson and Anthony Gregorio bought in after seeing how Havas Ventures could set the agency apart from others.

“Havas is one of the world’s most recognised networks, but in Australia we wanted to do something that differentiates ourselves and gives purpose to our entrepreneurial nature,” he said.

“Eddie has taken us on the Havas Ventures journey and we are confident that not only does this stand us apart from any other Australian marketing communication agency, but demonstrates our commitment to innovation and emerging business.”

The development – and increasing popularity – of the corporate accelerator or venture arm has been interesting to watch over the last few years.

Though it depends on the model, corporate involvement means the startup can get access to the company’s services, expertise, and customer base, while the corporate gains access to innovative thinking and products that may complement its existing offering.

The last few months have seen health insurers HBF and HCF run accelerator programs with healthtech startups, food manufacturer Simplot Australia run a foodtech accelerator, Telstra’s muru-D finish up its third Sydney program and sign a three year partnership deal with Brisbane’s River City Labs, and a number of financial services companies either sign on as sponsors of coworking spaces or run fintech hackathons.

Havas Ventures tested its offering with sales presentation startup SalesPreso, which this week raised $2 million in a funding round led by Sapien VC, and trivia game app QuizJam. Services provided to the startups included advice around capital raising and business development, marketing communications support, and re-seller partnership development.

Image: Havas Melbourne group managing director Matt Houltham and Eddie Wilson. Source: Supplied.