Accenture launches Project Spotlight, a new approach to venture capital

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The FINANCIAL — Accenture (NYSE: ACN) has launched a new immersive engagement and investment program targeting emerging technology software startups to help fill strategic innovation gaps for the Global 2000. Called Project Spotlight, the exclusive Accenture Ventures program represents a new approach to engaging with the global software startup community. 
 
Beyond making capital investments, Project Spotlight will offer unprecedented access to Accenture’s technology domain expertise and its enterprise clients. Startups will co-innovate with Accenture at its Innovation Hubs, Labs and Liquid Studios, working with subject matter experts to adapt their solutions to the enterprise market and scale faster and more effectively. Created by six-time Silicon Valley entrepreneur and CEO, Tom Lounibos, Project Spotlight seeks to transform the transactional nature of venture capital into an immersive engagement model.

“For many startups, the most challenging part of bringing a solution to market isn’t having a powerful idea or securing funding – it’s the nuanced understanding of the enterprise business problem,” said Lounibos, managing director, Accenture Ventures and Project Spotlight lead. “This initiative is a completely new way of approaching venture capital. We’re helping to put the spotlight on promising startups by bringing them into our innovation network, giving them exposure to the real business problems that we’re solving for our clients and helping them tailor, refine and scale their solutions for maximum impact.”
 
Accenture recently invested in and formed a strategic alliance with SkyHive, a Vancouver, British Columbia-based startup that uses artificial intelligence technology and its proprietary quantum labor analysis methodology to facilitate labor market transformation, reskilling and learning. SkyHive has been part of Project Spotlight since March, working with Accenture technologists at The Dock, Accenture’s flagship R&D and global innovation center in Dublin, and at Accenture’s FinTech Innovation Lab New York. In addition to collaborative R&D activities, the Accenture Talent & Organization/Human Potential practice and SkyHive have supported dozens of client use cases related to pandemic response and are helping Global 2000 clients define and navigate rapid workforce changes.
 
Most recently, Accenture brought SkyHive into a collaboration with Walmart and Unilever as part of an effort catalyzed by the World Economic Forum’s Consumer Industries Taskforce on Future of Work. Through the collaborative industry effort, the organizations are working on a ten-week pilot that will serve as a proof-of-concept of reskilling and redeployment efforts that, when scaled, can help people remain productive and employable in a transforming labor market.
 
“Project Spotlight has had a profoundly positive impact in enabling SkyHive to achieve its mission of advancing economic prosperity and inclusion through the use of exponential technology,” said Sean Hinton, founder and CEO of SkyHive. “It’s not only the startup knowledge and deep domain expertise that the Accenture team has provided us on this journey – it’s the incredible support and the alignment of our vision and mission that makes this collaboration so powerful and unique. This relationship has opened up new opportunities and dramatically accelerated both the speed and quality in which we go-to-market. We are honored to be a part of Project Spotlight.”
 
Project Spotlight will focus on startups that address areas of largescale strategic importance for Accenture’s enterprise clients including closing the skills gap, data sovereignty, the future of work, edge systems at scale and predictive systems. In addition to SkyHive, other startups currently in the program include Synadia, a provider of secure communications technology for digital systems that Accenture Ventures invested in in July, and InCountry, a data residency-as-a-service platform provider Accenture Ventures invested in last month.

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