Accelerating commercialisation: strategy comes first

The fourth wave of our Technology Developer Accelerator Programme (TDAP) is now well underway. After over six months working to find the best early-stage automotive-relevant concepts that we could, we’ve welcomed 14 new technology developers onto our accelerator programme.

After starting the programme virtually over a two-day kick-off session and IP seminar, it’s exciting to see the work get underway!

Keeping our support flowing to early-stage concepts and businesses is what we’re all about, whether that be during challenging times or not. But the truth is we want to go beyond support, the question we constantly ask ourselves is: how can we harness the APC’s network and the wider UK automotive ecosystem to accelerate early-stage technology commercialisation?

That’s why we’ve developed our programme as a strategy-enabling process. A series of work packages, seminars, consulting services and targeted introductions to help our Technology Developers move forward as fast as they can. We target our support in five fundamental areas of early-stage concept development: Go-to-Market Strategy, IP Management, Financial Planning, New Product Development and Networking and Dissemination.

Last month we launched TDAP’s Go-to-Market Strategy workstream with our fresh-eyes panel sessions. Having the right strategy can mean the difference between spending years banging on the door of customers that don’t engage, and finding an accessible market with a problem to which you have the solution. As a first step, we think that market feedback is a key enabler. We bring together panels of industry and technology experts to hear about the technology developers’ technical concepts and route to market plans. What follows is fast-paced, reflective and extremely honest feedback on their ideas. Panel members throw in all the recommendations they have; be that ideas about the technologies’ unseen value proposition, to routes to accessible markets and to the open questions that must be addressed as the technology develops. There’s a lot you can cover in 2.5 hours!

And albeit we delivered this in a virtual environment, this year’s sessions didn’t disappoint. We heard about everything from new energy storage; battery chemistry; module cooling and e-motor topology; to lightweight materials; structural electronics and even one of our technology developers that has almost literally reinvented the wheel – our panel members were spoilt for choice.

From thereon, our Technology Developers have started their work with our team of consultant delivery partners (thanks to E4tech, Inngot, Productiv and Stocker partnership) to sort and filter these ideas into something that can inform their strategies, business models and an actionable plan. For some Technology Developers, the work covered will be useful added information and confirmation of their plans, but for others, I expect that their plans will alter dramatically based on the feedback they’ve received… to me, this feels like one way we can really harness the UK’s automotive innovation ecosystem and the collective expertise we have access to – to accelerate and not just support early-stage development.

So, I’d like to take a moment to say thanks to our expert panel members, be them from CENEX, KTN, NAA, Newcastle University (APC’s Power Electronic Spoke Lead), UKBIC, WMG, or indeed the long list of industry specialists that were able to join us. Your time and input make this process possible.

Despite the recent challenges, it’s been exciting to see the programme develop and the ideas flow with our latest cohort of transport Technology Developers: 2-D Tech, Agile Charging, Balance Batteries, CB2tech, Cheesecake Energy Ltd, Electrical Cooling Systems, EMPEL Systems, Functional Structures, Sam Pearce Design, Paragraf, Photocentric Ltd, Spark EV Technology, Upgrade Technology Engineering Ltd and White Motorcycle Concepts. We wish them well in their journey with us!

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