Ep. 179 – Acceleprise’s Olivia O’Sullivan on Investing in Corporate/Startup Collaboration

Ep. 179 – Acceleprise’s Olivia O’Sullivan on Investing in Corporate/Startup Collaboration


Olivia O'Sullivan, AccelepriseOlivia O’Sullivan is the Head of Corporate Engagement at Acceleprise, a B2B SaaS accelerator. Acceleprise invests in early-tech companies building enterprise technology. Olivia’s focus is on mid-market and enterprise companies interested in collaborations with startups. Her background includes work in advertising and on product and innovation teams for McDonald’s and Dow Jones. Olivia spoke with Brian Ardinger, Inside Outside Innovation Founder, about corporate/startup matchmaking, trends and Acceleprise’s future.

Key factors in selecting startups include:

  • Understanding the founding team. Can they solve the challenge?
  • Traction and product market fit. Want to accelerate growth.
  • Thresholds and levels of expectations.
  • Collaboration on the product.

Emphasis on the initial period where you make introductions. The missing piece is how to transition into providing impact. 

  • Make sure two groups of people are set up to participate with each other and engage in a partnership.
  • Provide long-term strategic support.
  • Innovation doesn’t happen in a silo. Need a long-term strategy. Participate in the ecosystem before you see change.

Corporations are in different places in innovation

  • Companies wanting roundtables and market intelligence.
  • Companies with established processes and venture teams.

New Trends 

  • Ten years ago, there were lots of corporate accelerators. Now a lot of established independent accelerators doing great work.
  • Now more meaningful partnership doing co-collaboration with startups.
  • Financial services companies are partnering with startups.
  • Health tech – Unlocking the power of data in the health world.

What are the core skills for entrepreneurs?

  • Long-term vision and steps to get there.
  • Someone who will get the work done to get over hurdles.
  • People who are connectors on the corporate innovation side.

What’s next for Acceleprise

  • Kick off upcoming programs in SF and NY
  • Investing in another 20 companies. Already invested in over 100.
  • Opening office in Toronto.

For More Information

For more information on Acceleprise or to connect with Olivia check out https://acceleprise.vc


If you enjoyed this podcast, you might also enjoy:

Ep. 139 – Northwestern Mutual’s Vivek Bedi on Digital Transformation in the Financial Industry

Ep. 137 – Deloitte’s Michael Frankel on Growth, Hybrid Talent & Corporate/Startup Collaboration

Ep. 127 – Vanguard & CEC’s John Buhl on Lean Startup at Scale


Find this episode of Inside Outside Innovation at insideoutside.io. You can also listen on AcastiTunesSticher, Spotify, and Google Play.


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As one of Inside Outside’s most listened to podcasts of 2019, enjoy our interview with Olivia O’Sullivan of Acceleprise. It was originally published on June 18, 2019.


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Episode 179

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