Disruptor or Disrupted?

On a global and local scale, it’s widely recognised ‘disruption’ is taking place. 

Entire industries are being turned upside down by new, and often well-funded ventures with the ability to quickly scale and rapidly displace long established companies.   

If you've spent any time in the innovation space you'll most likely have read the thought leadership from Clayton Christensen, the man who coined the term ‘disruptive innovation’. 

He, now famously, identified how disruptive innovation (as opposed to sustainable innovation) has the power to create, change and influence markets. But not all companies have been able to recognise change or adapt quickly enough. 

Since 2002, 52% of the Fortune 500 companies are no longer around. Most now have a life expectancy of no more than 15-20 years. And if that’s the biggest companies in the world, it’s even more interesting to think about what change will happen to those smaller businesses.  

Over the past few years there’s been plenty of talk about disruptive business and seemingly everyone wants in on the act. Large corporates are building innovation labs, setting up new venture M&A teams and are exploring strategic partnerships with key startups. 

In the meantime, hundreds of businesses are setting up every day, many with the ambition to raise capital, scale and disrupt the mainstay. 

At Tällt one of our key messages to our clients is to run a disruptive innovation strategy in parallel with the incumbent sustainable innovation activity. And the very first step is to know what’s going on in the market that’s relevant to them. 

But when it comes to identifying startups with very real potential to challenge a business or market, you need to look beyond the hype. 

At Tällt we analyse and track all ventures against a 3-P axis - people, product and potential. This gives us a much deeper understanding of whether a business has what it takes to succeed and scale. 

  • For the people we look at the team surrounding the company, from founders to advisors and investors; where and what they’ve studied; how well connected they are and whether they’re considered experts in their field.  
  • For the product we get under the hood of the what they’ve created; we get an understanding of the technology; get closer to their tech ambitions and the roadmap for delivery. 
  • And finally the potential. Not only do we look at the market size and opportunity potential, we look at a company’s traction to date. Where possible we look into their commercials; into the performance of any pilots they’ve got up and if we’re still unable to find much data we’ll look into the adoption they have around their product. 

Through this, we can cut through the millions of startups out there to find that one, or the few, with the potential to change industries, or create new ones.  

As well as this, we produce Disrupt 100. Working with leading entrepreneurs, investors and business people we annually index the 100 top disruptive ventures (worth under $1bn) with the greatest potential globally.  

This year it was great to see three of the Disrupt 100 2017 headquartered or first launched in Bristol- Ultrahaptics, Slide and Graphcore - proving that the South West is proving itself on a global scale. 

Not only is the region already being recognised as an innovation hub within the UK but it has the tech talent and the ambition to play with the best of them on a truly global scale. 

This prompted us to take a closer look at the startups who call the South West their home. With Tällt founded and based in Bristol, it was simply too tempting not to explore the truly innovative startups on our very doorstep.  

We’ve identified is a host of tech-driven businesses with the potential disrupt their industry or create entirely new ones. The South West has a rich pool of innovative and engaging business who are scaling fast and with Disrupt South West we’re proud to be profiling the best of the bunch. 

Author: Matt Connolly, Founder & CEO of Tällt Ventures

Read more from Tällt Ventures here.